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The Author and his daughter 



DR. WILLIAM ALLEN MADDOX 



Historical 
Carvings 
in Leather 



A Lost Art Reclaimed 



1940 



THE NAYLOR COMPANY 

PUBLISHERS SAN ANTONIO 



Copyright 194O t>y 
IXR.. WTV. 



.AH rigrhts srcaeirved. Reproduction of 
ttiis boolc in -whole or in part, is 
striotly proliitited. -viritliotil: - 
of tli* authoir. 



Dedicated to my Mother and Father 

ELIZABETH MADDOX 
SAMUEL W. MADDOX 

of Cooke County, Texas* -who have passed their 
alloted three score and ten and are norv approach- 
ing their Golden Wedding Day, and The Old 
Pioneers of the Great South-west -who suffered un- 
told hardships in a new country in order that we 
of this generation might have a more abundant 
life, all of which has inspired me to -write this 
book and create the carvings on Leather which 
depict the Great Southwest. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Introduction ix 

HISTORY OF FINE LEATHER, ITS ROMANCE AND 

IMPORTANCE TO MANKIND .... 1 

A BRIEF HISTORY OF HISTORICAL CARVINGS . . 40 

THE ART OF CARVING 70 

THE WILD STALLION OR HORSES IN GENERAL 

INCLUDING THE COW-HORSE . . . . 117 
CATTLEMEN AND COWBOYS OF THE 

GREAT SOUTHWEST 149 

THE AMERICAN INDIAN AND THE BUFFALO . . 197 

THE PIONEER OR COVERED WAGON DAYS . . 251 

THE OVERLAND STAGE 316 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 
THE AUTHOR AND HIS DAUGHTER . . Frontispiece 

Facing page 

WILL ROGERS 1 

ROBERT E. LEE 33 

THE STAGECOACH 65 

THE PIONEER 97 

A BUFFALO HUNT OF 1836 129 

THE ROUND-UP 161 

THE COMBAT 193 

THE WILD STALLION ON GUARD .... 225 

THE LAST SUPPER 257 

OUR SAVIOR 289 

TRANSPORT OF 1936 305 



INTRODUCTION 



I was born in Whitewright, Texas, Gray- 
son County, on January 30, 1893. I was the 
oldest child of a family consisting of three girls 
and three boys. My mother's maiden name 
was Elizabeth Allen, and her father was an 
old Confederate soldier who fought under 
Albert Sidney Johnston in Tennessee, was cap- 
tured at old Fort Hudson on the Mississippi 
River, below Vicksburg, and spent almost a 
year in prison. He lived to a ripe old age. 

Grandpa Maddox was born in Tennessee, 
and his parents came from southern Virginia 
or North Carolina, Every Maddox I have ever 
talked with can trace his ancestry back to an 
old Scotchman who settled on the line of North 
Carolina and Virginia, He had twelve sons. 

Mother and Father came to Texas from 
northern Arkansas in a covered wagon in the 
year 1892, They settled on a farm near White- 
wright, Texas. They later moved back to 
Arkansas for a few years, but got the Texas 
fever again, and Dad traded one hundred acres 
of fine pine timber and a saw mill for a wagon 
and four mules to move back to Texas again. 
Grandpa Allen was a blacksmith and a wagon- 
maker, and I can remember that he and Father 
made the wagon that we moved in, I also re- 
member incidents on the trip moving back to 



IX 



Texas such as bogging down in eastern Okla- 
homa and having to be pulled out, and Mother 
worrying about the Indians and bad men. She 
was afraid they would steal our means of trans- 
portation in the dark hours of the night. 

I grew up in an atmosphere of .frontier life, 
surrounded by cattle and horses; in fact I can't 
remember being afraid of a horse. I was with 
them almost constantly from my earliest recol- 
lection up to the time I entered dental college in 
Dallas, Texas, in the fall of 1913, 

Dad drew a claim in Caddo County, Okla- 
homa in 1900, and we moved to this new 
country in a covered wagon. This land had 
just been taken away from the cowmen by the 
U. S. Government, though cattlemen had held 
it by lease or free range and it was being 
cut up and drawn for by each individual, 
after the Indian Commissioner had let each one 
of the remaining Indians select for himself and 
each member of his family a tract of land con- 
taining 160 acres. What was left was drawn 
for by the white settlers. Father ran a store and 
we had many Indian customers. We lived here 
for eight years and then moved to a small town 
on the Rock Island Railroad in the southern 
part of Wheeler County,, west of Shamrock, 
Texas. ^ Father ran a livery stable and I was 
one of his drivers; driving cattlemen, land buy- 
ers and other travelers over the many Bounties 
of that vast cattle domain. My conveyance 
was a Spaldin hack or buggy, a great improve- 
ment over the old stagecoach. 



During dull times I worked on different 
ranches in that territory. Some that I remem- 
ber are the old Rockingchair, the Flying U, and 
the YOU. I attended a round-up at one time 
on the old R O ranch, an empire of 250 sections 
of land owned by an Englishman named Rowe. 
He was drowned when the Titanic sank in 
mid-ocean in 1912. 

On the YOU, which was owned by a man 
named Johnson from Dallas, Texas, I was 
general flunky or roustabout. My nickname 
was Boss. The cowboy is an expert at giving 
all people nicknames; and what a bunch of old, 
hardened cow-punchers can't think of, when a 
boy is around to flunky for them, has already 
been scratched out of the book; but later in life 
I had the pleasure of placing several of these 
characters into one of my carvings of the great 
cattle industry The Round-Up. However, 
art at that time was about as far removed from 
my mind as anything imaginable. A full- 
fledged cowboy would have ranked just as high 
as an artist, perhaps higher. 

I have played with other boys among the 
old ruins of Fort Elliott, Mobeetie, the old 
county seat of Wheeler County, Texas, and at 
that time almost all of the adobe walls were 
standing (of course we had to push some of 
them over), and I imagine each coming genera- 
tion of young America has had to do likewise, 
until they have all almost sunk back into the 
earth from whence they came. I may add that at 

xi 



that time no one thought about the old fort 
enough to remind us we should not do this. 

Some time in the year of 1910, we moved 
back to Grayson County, Texas. I attended 
school at Tioga and Era, the latter being the 
town where Mother and Father now live. Both 
are sound in body to this good day. 

I completed my dental course in 1916, and 
practiced about a year before we entered the 
World War. I was married March 24, 1917, 
about three weeks before the United States 
declared war "to make the world safe for de- 
mocracy/' One daughter was born to this union. 
She is now sixteen and is living in Dallas, 
Texas. I served until the close of the war as 
a First Lieutenant, 64th Infantry, 7th Divis- 
ion. I was honorably discharged December 2, 
1918, and resumed my practice in Gainesville, 
Texas, in the same year. I practiced there for 
several years. 

Later I acquired property in Lubbock, Texas 
and moved there in the summer of 1929. I 
started building houses just in time to get 
caught in the slump of that year. I had plenty 
of time on my hands. I imagine my patients 
were in financial stress like I was. It took every 
dollar one could make to pay taxes and interest 
on what one owed, and to hold on to his prop- 
erty. Most professional men were forced to 
barter for the necessities like our forefathers had 
done. I remember Dad telling about the time 
he had owned a sawmill 



Xll 



When I was a small boy money was very 
scarce, and people brought Dad corn to be 
ground on the halves, pork to be traded for 
timber, and logs to be sawed into lumber on 
the shares. I was like the two frogs that fell 
into a churn and started to discuss their predica- 
ment. One thought their case was hopeless and 
turned over and drowned* The other one was 
not ready to give up and he just kept kicking 
and trying to keep his head above the milk so 
that he would not drown. Before long he had 
churned the milk into a large chunk of butter 
and had crawled onto this and was waiting for 
developments. 

Well, I am of a nervous temperament and 
have to do something to keep my mind em- 
ployed, and nothing seems to do this so well 
as artistic, painstaking work with my hands. 
About this time when work was not too plenti- 
ful, my chest started slipping down and my 
waist-line started to increase, and I knew I was 
too young for that. I also knew that the aver- 
age cowboy is not bothered in that respect, and 
that it had been over fifteen years since I had 
ridden a horse much. I had no saddle that I 
liked, so I made an exchange with one of the 
leading saddle makers in Lubbock. Several of 
his employees needed some dental work and he 
could take it out of their wages over a period 
of time, provided I would let the saddle man, 
A. L. Bettes, make the saddle on holidays 
and after work hours. This was agreed to and 

xiii 



I watched him do all the raised stamp work 
which had a peculiar fascination for me. 

When the saddle was finished, I told Bettes 
that I believed I could do that work, and he 
said he thought so too, because I was a good 
dentist* He asked me why I did not make a 
carved handbag for myself. When I told him 
that I would not know how to put it together, 
he stated that he would show me. 

In due time the bag was completed and I 
had so many compliments on this piece of work 
that I made several more, drawing some small 
sketches of horses, steer heads, deer, and various 
other kinds of animals* I was informed by old 
saddle men that my work was as good as that 
of men who had spent a lifetime in this busi- 
ness. 

From this work I got the idea that if I could 
carve animals on a small scale, I could carve 
them on a large scale. My first piece was two 
large bull elks locked in a death combat. They 
were carved on a mural about three by four 
feet. This was followed by The Covered 
Wagon, The Roand-Up, The Buffalo Hunt, 
and The Stagecoach. 

Then I began to give some thought to the 
possibility of bringing out the personality of a 
man or human being. The first effort was a 
small bust carving of the Christ; the next was 
a small bust carving of Will Rogers. About this 
time the beloved humorist was killed in an air- 
plane crash in Alaska, and I immediately 
started a design of him in a life-size carving. 



XIV 



Some eighteen hundred hours were spent in the 
completion of this piece of work* 

A new hobby now was born, for up to this 
time no one has ever attempted to reproduce 
art on leather on a large scale; to bring out the 
personality in such a way that the subject is 
recognized at once. I should like to say that 
outside of the first instruction of the saddle 
maker, I have been my own teacher* I never 
had a moment of instruction in art in my life 
from any school or art teacher* I draw an ani- 
mal or human being as near perfect as it is pos- 
sible for me to do* It is not easy for me to draw; 
I keep drawing and redrawing my subjects until 
it suits me* I never drew an object until I was 
around thirty-seven years old; however, 
I have always had a feeling that I could draw 
almost anything if I wanted to* But I never 
seemed to have the time to get around to it* 

During the depression years between 1929 
and 1932 I found that my time was not very 
valuable, and so I started the work of carving* 
I enjoyed this hobby so much that I have con- 
tinued it up to the present time* 

I find it so interesting that I wish others to 
know about it* This is why I am putting my 
work into written form I hope others may 
learn to enjoy the art of leather carving as I 
have, and also to appreciate the folklore of the 
Great Southwest* 



XV 




WILL ROGERS 

This noble character was one of the most universally loved men of the age, and his 
untimely death was mourned by the entire world. His wisecracks and philosophy of 
life have never been surpassed. His sense of humor and his love for all humanity 
should be a shrine built in the hearts of the American people to ever strive for. Dr. 
Wm. Allen Maddox spent 1800 hours in designing and carving this piece of art out of 
one solid piece of leather three by seven feet, a life-size portrait that has been valued by 
experts at from $25,000 upward. The epitaph at the bottom of the carving reads: 
Will Rogers, AMERICA'S FOREMOST PHILOSOPHER. Presidents, Kings, Poten- 
tates, Actors, Stagehands, Cowboys, Laborers, Senators, and Congressmen, were his 
friends, but none escaped his sharp wit. Loved and admired by all classes yet he 
never lost the common touch. All humanity looked the same to "OUR WILL." He 



HISTORY OF FINE LEATHER, ITS 

ROMANCE AND IMPORTANCE 

TO MANKIND 



Fine Leather There is no commodity more 
useful to mankind than leather. Throughout 
the ages and history of man as far back as we 
have any knowledge or records, he has made 
u$e of the skins and hides of animals for almost 
every conceivable purpose. Some of the most 
important dates in the history of mankind will 
never be known; such as, when did people first 
use fire? when was salt first used? or when did 
cooking first start? I remember reading a story 
in school of a boy who had a pet pig. Their 
grass hut got on fire and burned down, and the 
nig" was shut up in the hut. The boy rushed 
up as the fire was dying down and grabbed 
hold of the pig to drag him out of the fire. Of 
course some of the cooked or burned meat stuck 
to his hands. We all know that if we burn 
our fingers, we instinctively put them in our 
mouths. The meat tasted good and there you 
have the explanation of one answer which 
sounds logical, to say the least. No one knows 
the true answers, nor does anyone know ex- 
actly when mankind first began to make leather 



2 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

which undoubtedly is one of the most impor- 
tant items of use in prehistoric civilizations* 
Shoes and clothing of today seem common- 
place; we take them as a matter of course, and 
have had no experiences of life without them. 
But, no doubt, there was a day when prehis- 
toric man returned from a hunting trip with 
his feet sore and bleeding from sharp rocks, 
briers, thorns, or hot desert sands. He waked 
up lame and had to use his reasoning faculties 
to do something about it. He probably wrap- 
ped the skin of some animal around his sore 
extremities. Perhaps he found such comfort 
that the joy of his discovery was quickly com- 
municated to his fellow hunters. Hence came 
the first inventor, maybe, or the faculties for 
reasoning out a problem, and necessity became 
the mother of invention, one of the first laws 
of nature. 

Perhaps with the protection and comfort of 
this device, men could wander farther away 
from their caves and places of abode in search 
of food and need no longer go hungry as often 
as in the past. They could hunt more easily 
over a range or territory, wandering farther 
from home and moving about more quickly 
to avoid the dangers that beset them on every 
hand, for the skins eliminated the necessity of 
picking paths as cautiously as before, over sharp 
stones or thorny ways all of which gave him 
a greater advantage over his enemies both ani- 
mal and human. It has been wisely stated that 
civilization has advanced on foot; that the 
well-shod races have ever been the victors over 
the unshod. This is easy to believe. 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 3 

But many centuries of leather making into 
sandals, shoes, and clothing passed before the 
days of written records. We know that the 
ancients used leather for many purposes before 
the dawn of history. The wandering tribes 
made tents for their homes; they used it for 
beds, carpets, armor, and shields in the days 
of the bow and arrow. They later made har- 
ness and saddles. No one knows positively 
when they learned that 'leather breathes'* and 
that water keeps fresh and cool in a leather bag, 
a discovery second only in importance to the 
invention of sandals and shoes. For, after this, 
tribes could move farther away from the locali- 
ty of a spring or river bank; they could take a 
supply of water with them. Through many 
parts of Asia and Africa water is kept this way 
today. Water bags are made of leather as of 
old, so are the 'Vine skins' ' or leather flagons 
of the desert people, just .as they were in the 
Old Testament times and even earlier. 

This breathing quality of leather is very val- 
uable to civilized man of today, for it allows a 
gradual evaporation of moisture, an important 
reason for its use in the shoe industry or in mak- 
ing other articles of clothing. This breathing 
quality of leather or skins, the power to pass or 
absorb moisture, is also essential to the animal 
in life as well as to the human being; for our 
bodies are also covered by skin which is as 
tough as most animals. We have only two 
means of eliminating poison from our bodies. 
The same applies to animals. One is by way 
of the kidneys and the other is in the prespira- 
tion which passes through the skin. If a horse 



4 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

stops sweating when you are working him 
hard, you should do something for him im- 
mediately, for if you don't, you will soon be 
in the market for another horse* This same 
breathing or porous quality of the skin can be 
used when rubbing liniments or various things 
into the skin to soften and beautify it. Some 
of these are now highly commercialized by in- 
dustry* In medicine and cosmetics this process 
is called "inunction/' And to illustrate how 
quickly the skin will absorb liquids, Houdini, 
the world's famous magician, made a wager 
that he could escape from a straight jacket in a 
large vat of whiskey in a few minutes* He 
made his escape using more time than usual* He 
later said this was one of the narrowest escapes 
he ever had, for his body absorbed the liquor 
until he became so drunk he could hardly force 
his muscles to perform the task, and came near 
to drowning in the vat* 

Ancient people found leather valuable for 
making bowstrings and shields for warfare* 
Strips of it were used in fastening arrowheads 
to the shafts and in making various implements 
and weapons, or ornaments* At a somewhat 
later date they probably made canoes of leather 
and crude drums used in calling the tribes to- 
gether and maybe used these drums also as a 
means of communication for primitive cere- 
monial music* When America was discovered, 
pur own American Indians had drums, to beat 
in their ceremonial dances, which were covered 
with leather or rawhide* Central jungle tribes 
of Africa and South America are known to 
have very complicated drum tap codes of com- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 5 

munication which are sent forth from village 
to village as a warning of danger or to announce 
the coming of a traveler. These codes travel 
with incredible speed like the grapevine system 
in our prisons* This leather or rawhide teleg- 
raphy probably extends back far beyond our 
written history* It may have been used by 
most of the primitive races from which modern 
man is descended* The first authentic records 
we have of any civilized state of existence goes 
back to the building of the pyramids in Egypt 
nearly five thousand years ago* From the 
carved tablets which the Egyptians used then* 
we have learned much about the history of 
leather* When King Tufs tomb was un- 
earthed in this century, leather was found in a 
good state of preservation* Articles of leather 
such as sandals have been unearthed in the 
tombs of the ancients more than thirty-three 
centuries old and found to be in a perfect state 
of preservation* Some well preserved articles 
of leather now repose in the Metropolitan 
Museum of Ancient Art* In Genesis 3:21 we 
read: "Unto Adam and also unto his wife did 
the Lord God makes coats of skins, and clothed 
them*" In all probability leather for many 
centuries was the material most used for cloth- 
ing* Earliest records of human history reveal 
that leather was richly prized; it was even 
classed along with gold and silver and precious 
gems* It was given to kings and gods as tribute 
(or modern taxation) * The ancient Arabs used 
leather extensively and their recipe for making 
it has come down to us through the ages* It 
is as follows: 



6 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

'The skins are first put into flour and salt 
for three days and are cleaned of all fats and 
impurities of the inside. The stalks of the 
Chulga plant being pounded between large 
stones are then put into the water and applied 
to the inner side of the skin for one day* The 
hair having fallen off t the skin is left for two 
or three days and the process is completed/' 

The Arabs, ^as one might imagine, were 
famous artisans in saddlery work. The Hebrews 
are said to have been the first to discover the 
value of oak-bark tanning, and this method 
was considered as good as the best that had 
been discovered until the introduction of mod- 
ern tanning methods in America. Another an- 
cient method was the "shamoying process'* 
which is described in Homer's Iliad in about 
1200 B. C In this process the pores of the 
hide are opened by repeated washing, with oil 
being forced into the pores by beating and rub- 
bing while the hide is placed on a frame or 
stretched out. The soft leather called shammy 
or chamois is the result of this process. Much 
of the leather clothing used by the ancient world 
was made from this chamois leather. 

Many books of the Bible were written in 
Hebrew on leather. So the Lord in his wis- 
dom knew long before man that leather was an 
everlasting commodity. I have had enough ex- 
perience with leather to make the statement 
that I believe leather will last indefinitely pro- 
vided it is oiled regularly with Neat's foot oil 
or white vaseline, either one of which re- 
places the animal fat that the hide or 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 7 

skin originally had when on the living ani- 
mal. You can smear white vaseline on russet 
leather and the leather will take it all in with- 
in a few days. This process, if repeated at 
regular intervals, will give the leather the oil 
or fat it originally had when on the living ani- 
mal. The writer has a piece of leather in his 
possession that is out of a shipload of leather 
that was started to France in 1917 and was 
sunk by a German submarine. The boat was 
salvaged in 1934, seventeen years later. Sal- 
vaging gold or precious stones would sound 
romantic, but salvaging a lot of water-soaked 
bundles of tanned hides does not. But I have 
never read of any salvaging operations with a 
more interesting touch than the one that fol- 
lows. 

On the second day of December, 1917, the 
Spanish steamer, <S. 5. Nouiembre, bound for 
France with an American cargo, was torpedoed 
off the French coast. This cargo consisted of 
copper and one hundred and fifty tons of shoe 
leather for the French soldiers. Time passed 
and left the boat, its copper and shoe leather ly- 
ing on the bottom of the sea. Seventeen years 
later a salvage job started. The salvaged ves- 
sel was a sister ship of the famous Artiglio so 
prominent in the romance of diving for treas- 
ure. The salvagers were going after the cop- 
per; but when the divers got into the long 
foundered hull, they found, as usual, that the 
heavy cargo was at the bottom of the boat and 
the lighter cargo on the top. This lighter part 
was the leather. So to get to the copper, the} 
had to haul out bale after bale of leather, slinrp 



8 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

with the ooze of the sea. As this stuff was 
hoisted from the salvaged ship, it was received 
with disgust, and bale after bale was tossed over 
the sides again. One bale, however, was brought 
to shore for identification purposes, and that is 
where the sunken leather ran into the renowned 
French quality called "thrift/' A French dock 
hand got hold of the side of the rescued leather 
since he wanted to see if it was still useful It 
was, for he half -soled his shoes with it and 
found it good. When this news got around, 
the crew stopped tossing the leather overboard 
and it was hauled up out of the foundered hulk 
and taken ashore and turned over to a chemist 
who was an expert on leather. He proceeded 
to investigate. After a long study, it was found 
that most of the leather was still perfectly good. 
To make the saga complete, an American 
leather company, which shipped the original 
consignment, bought back from the salvage 
company a quantity of its own product which 
is in New York City on exhibition. The piece 
of leather I have was sent to me in recognition 
of my work with leather. 

The foregoing story furnished undeniable 
proof of the durability and quality of good 
American tanned leathers. A test of this nature 
had never been made before or even thought of 
by leather experts or chemists; and it is doubt- 
ful if this test can or ever will be duplicated. 
It would seem that the decomposition of metal- 
lic salts from the erosion of the hull during this 
seventeen^ years of submersion would have ren- 
dered this or any other leather absolutely 
worthless. I don't see how leather could be 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 9 

put to any more severe test than submersion for 
seventeen years in the sea. 

From the Talmud we have learned that 
Jewish tanners of Babylon were not allowed to 
put hides into their vats on Fridays, as this 
would necessitate working on the Sabbath* A 
legend of the ancient Greeks describes Zeus, 
the great god, wearing the aegis, a covering 
supposed to have been the hide of the goat that 
suckled him. Other legends refer to the aegis 
as the shield Zeus carried; and Homer calls him 
the aegis-bearer. The aegis usually meant the 
leather coat or cuirass worn by the Greek sol- 
diers. It is interesting to note that the horns of 
the goat that suckled Zeus were considered the 
magic horns of plenty* In early history and 
legends the Greeks are described as wearing 
leather helmets and shields in battle. Ovid des- 
cribes the warrior Ajax; and tells Ajax to 
shield his ample breast; provide seven lusty 
bulls and tan their sturdy hides. There is also 
a famous legend of Carthage which tells how 
Queen Dido, when promised only as much land 
as she could encompass by the hide of a bull, 
cut the hide into very thin continuous strips 
and was thus able to encircle land enough upon 
which to build a strong fort. It must have 
been an extremely large bull. However, we 
have hides imported into this country from 
Germany which contain over ninety square feet 
of leather. 

I imagine the steer formerly owned by Will 
Rogers that weighed over 3,300 pounds would 
have made a fair size piece of leather after tan- 
ning. I have seen this steer, and one could take 



10 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

a nap on his back and have a very good place 
to snooze. Most of our hides are split down 
the back before the process of tanning, and the 
leather is sold by the tanners in what is com- 
monly called "sides of leather/' The best 
leather covers the choicest cuts of beef. Packer 
hides are considered far superior to any others 
in producing leather. The fatter the animal, 
the more desirable the hide. Hides from cattle 
that have died from disease or natural cause are 
called fallen hides. The western custom of 
burning a large brand all over the side of an 
animal should be discouraged, for it literally 
ruins the best part of the hide. I think tattoo- 
ing in the animal's ears will eventually replace 
this old custom. It would leave the entire hide 
more serviceable for commercial purpose, and 
avoid a great waste in fine leather. We Ameri- 
can people have never given much thought to 
saving, but the time is not far distant when 
we will be forced to give it more thought in 
order to compete with the more thrifty nations 
of the world. 

From the earliest dawn of history, leather has 
ever been one of the most important items of 
clothing. The only dress of the ancient Ageans 
was the loin cloth, except for high boots prob- 
ably made of leather which were worn by the 
men. Sandals were worn by both sexes. In 
the early days of Egypt a man of rank would 
be followed by a servant carrying a pair of san- 
dals. This indicates how valuable shoes were 
considered at that time. They must have been 
very expensive and rare. In later days in 
Egypt sandals and other types of shoes were 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER H 

worn, but their importance was signified in the 
court ceremonials when princesses appeared be- 
fore the Pharaoh barefoot, the monarch alone 
being entitled to wear shoes on those occasions* 
The simplest type of foot-wear was a pad or 
sole of leather bound by two straps, one pass- 
ing over the instep and the other between the 
toes. This type of foot-wear was common dur- 
ing the Bible times and was no doubt worn by 
our Savior. The ancients began to ornament 
leather with gold and silver thread and em- 
broidery, also jewels, at quite an early period. 
Shoes and girdles of the princely class are men- 
tioned in the Bible. We remember King Solo- 
mon's famous exclamation: "How beautiful 
are thy feet with shoes, O Princess! daughter/* 
Leather is paraphrased in the thousand and one 
nights in the description of the splendid attire 
of princesses and sultans and heroes. The 
Romans gave us the word tan, which comes 
from tannery, meaning oak bark. In ancient 
Rome shoes also marked the rank of the wearer. 
The Romans commonly wore sandals or light- 
weight shoes, but with full dress, called the 
toga, the calceus had to be worn. This was a 
shoe with slits at the side and straps knotted in 
ftont. The senators' calceus had four such 
straps which were worn around the ankle with 
a tongue wound around the straps. They were 
made of black leather, while those of the pa- 
tricians were made of red. The Roman soldiers 
wore heavy hobbed-nail sandal boots made 
with a number of straps wound around the 
lower part of the leg. The hunting boot that 
came up high was known as the compagus. A 



12 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

leather cap was also part of the Roman costume, 
particularly that of the Roman soldier, from 
the earliest times. In the colder climates leather 
and fur have always been first materials for 
clothing purposes; and in all ages, both have 
continued to play an important part* 

Our modern leather coats, wind-breakers and 
sheep-skinned jackets, are only adaptations of 
types worn by the earliest human beings of the 
northern races. Furs were worn until tanning 
was perfected; then leather came widely into 
use as it was more practical* Leather is less 
bulky and more desirable for many reasons. 
Furs are worn now for decoration, or luxurious 
ornament. 

In olden days, the average man wore a 
doublet of soft leather, a leather cap, and 
leather buckskin boots or sandals. If the man 
was a warrior, he carried a leather shield. From 
time immemorial leather has been used for 
armor. The ancient Greek warrior wore greaves 
or leg-guards, a cuirass or shirt, and a helmet, 
all of leather, as well as his boots. The leather- 
covered shields retained their popularity, for 
they were light and very serviceable. 

Strange, but true nevertheless, history tells 
us of several instances where human skin was 
used as leather, and even worn by the nobility. 
Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans, habit- 
ually wore clothes made of human skin. He 
obtained these human skins from poachers 
whom he shot and killed for trespassing on his 
forest preserves. He was called Philippe Egalite, 
Equality Phil, because of his democratic ten- 
dencies. One of his eccentric traits was the 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 13 

wearing of trousers made from human skin 
which he obtained from these poachers* This 
man was wearing these gruesome garments on 
November 6, 1793, when he lost his head on 
the guillotine in the French Revolution. Later 
one of his sons, Louis Philippe, became King of . 
France from 1830 to 1848. In the University 
of Gottingen, Germany, there is an account 
of a book bound with human skin. A German 
physician directed in his will that his own skin 
be used as binding for a volume of Hipprocrates 
as an expression of gratitude to this famous 
man who is known as the father of medicine. 
Our own -American Indians wore clothes made 
from skins of animals, mostly of the deer 
family, which I will tell about in detail later 
in this discussion. 

The Anglo-Saxons made practically all of 
their armor of leather or toughened hides. They 
also wore leather pantaloons which were de- 
corated with steel lozengers called mascales. 
These metal pieces were probably designed to 
dull the swords of their enemies; but they serv- 
ed two purposes: one as a protection and the 
other as an ornament. They also wore cone- 
shaped skull caps of leather. 

The earliest coats of mail in the days of 
knighthood or chivalry were doublets upon 
which rings of steel were sewed. Marco Polo, 
the famous thirteenth century Venetian travel- 
er, who was practically the first European to 
penetrate Asia overland as far as China and 
Mongolia, tells us that the soldiers of Kubla 
Khan, the great monarch of the Tartars and 
Chinese, wore leather armor. They wore this 



14 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

defensive armor which was made of the thick 
hides of the buffalo and other beasts and dried 
by the fire. Thus it was rendered extremely 
strong and tough. This man also gives a very 
interesting description of how the fierce Tar- 
tar soldiers prepared and kept dried milk for 
their fighting rations. After the fresh milk 
had been skimmed and boiled, he states that 
it was then exposed to the sun until it dried. 
Upon going into service, the soldiers would 
carry about ten pounds for each man and of 
this amount each morning they would place ap- 
proximately one-half pound into a leather bot- 
tle, with as much water as they thought neces- 
sary. Through the motion in riding over the 
rough country, the contents would be violently 
shaken same principle as churning and this 
motion would produce a thin porridge upon 
which they could make their dinner when on 
the march. Marco Polo also gives a good des- 
cription of the war tents of Kubla Khan which 
were made of leather from the skins of lions, 
streaked black, white, and red. And so well 
joined together were they that neither wind nor 
rain could penetrate. Inside they were lined 
with the skins of ermines and sables which are 
the most costly of furs. Probably no con- 
queror, before or since, has had such magnifi- 
cent camping tents. But it is doubtful if at that 
time ermines and sables were as scarce and ex- 
pensive as they are today. The palace of this 
Chinese emperor was, of course, more elabor- 
ate. Courtiers, Marco Polo records, were ac- 
customed, upon going there, to take with them 
handsome buskins of white leather; and 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 15 

when they reached the court, but before they 
entered the hall, they put on these white 
buskins and gave those in which they had 
walked into the care of the servants. This 
practice was observed so that they would not 
soil the beautiful carpets which were curiously 
and beautifully wrought with silk and gold* 
When Kubla Khan went into battle, which was 
quite often, he would usually take his station 
in a large wooden castle which was borne on 
the backs of four large elephants whose bodies 
were protected with coverings of thick leather 
which had been hardened by fire. Over this 
were housings of cloth trimmed with gold. 
These decorations, no doubt, made an elaborate 
appearance for this old warrior, Marco Polo 
also visited India, and he describes the mer- 
chandise of Guxerat by the Indian Sea, Cover- 
lets for beds were made of red and blue leather 
extremely delicate and soft and stitched with 
silver and gold thread. Upon these Moham- 
medans were accustomed to repose. Thus were 
bedspreads or counter-spreads in the olden days 
made of leather. 

When the Arabs and old Moors overran 
Spain and were in possession of that country 
from the eighth to the fifteenth centuries, they 
introduced to Europe the Arabian and oriental 
leather crafts, among them saddlery, which is 
really the starting point of our saddle industry 
of today. The Moorish and Arabian saddles 
and harness were beautifully ornamented with 
jewels and precious stones. In American co- 
lonial times this art was taken to the South 
American countries and old Mexico by the 



16 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

Spanish conqaistadotes and enjoyed great favor 
there. From this early-day oriental art of fine 
jewels on saddles CoL Joe C Miller of the 
famous 101 Ranch of Oklahoma and the Wild 
West Shows got his idea of having the most 
famous and most expensive saddle made in the 
world. It was decorated with over three hundred 
precious jewels. I will give a more elaborate des- 
cription of this saddle in the chapter on "Cow- 
boys and Cattlemen/' Tradition tells us that 
the rich, aristocratic families of these old Moors 
in Spain decorated their homes and the walls 
of their rooms in fine hand-carved leather. This 
custom led no doubt to the starting of the orig- 
inal art of carving or stamping leather that was 
brought to this country in the early days from 
old Mexico and is now more highly developed 
in the great Southwestern part of the United 
States than in any other part of the world. 

Leather in the Middle Ages was considered 
fifth in importance among the products of 
Russia which was almost an unknown country 
in 1588. This was about two hundred years 
after Marco Polo's time. Giles Fletcher who 
was Queen Elizabeth's ambassador to Czar 
Feodor of Russia in 1588 stated that one of 
their principal commodities was losh or cow- 
hide: "Their losh or buffe [buffalo] hide is 
very faire and large. They hath been trans- 
ported by merchant strangers, some years one 
hundred thousand hides. Richard Hukluyt 
sent a dyer, one Hubblethorne, to Paris in 1579, 
to learn the art of the Persians which would be 
useful to the English and amoung his instruc- 
tions was number six. They have cunning 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 17 

[artisans] in Persia who make buskins of Span- 
ish leather, flowers of many kinds in most live- 
ly colors. And these, the Courtiers do wear 
there to learn which art would do no harm/' 

From this report, it would seem that the art 
of carving flowers upon leather might go back 
to the Persians as early as 1579, for the raised- 
flower stamp work so commonly used on 
saddles has many different flower designs. The 
writer himself has worked out some two dozen 
or more designs for raised-flower stamp work 
in the past. England had at that time many 
experienced leather workers and artisians, but 
Hukluyt, acting probably for the government, 
was anxious that all trade secrets be learned by 
the industrious and clever subjects of Queen 
Bess. 

From the earliest Anglo-Saxon days leather 
was considered a most important material to 
Englishmen for clothing, armor, shoes, sad- 
dles, flagons, and other articles necessary to 
daily life. Leather was hung over windows 
which were commonly without glass in the 
early days to keep out the cold, rain, and snow. 
This method was used by the early colonists in 
New England and the Atlantic states. 

During the Middle Ages, industry became 
organized into various trades, guilds, or fratern- 
ities usually called companies. These guilds 
were powerful and ruled apprentices and mem- 
bers with an iron hand in order to insure that 
the quality of their craftmanship would be 
good. We find that leather workers were 
among the first to form a guild or fraternity. 
In France, the Fraternity of Leather Workers 



18 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

was established in 1397 by Charles the Sage, 
and was controlled by the church. If a man 
wanted to become a tanner, the right had to be 
bought from the king for sixteen sous and 
every member swore to observe the customs and 
moral precepts of the trade. These guilds were 
powerful throughout all of western Europe, 
but reached their highest peak of development 
and power in London. 

Each guild, having purchased the right from 
the crown, enjoyed special privileges. They 
created monopolies through their royal char- 
ters. Among the first organized in London 
was the Saddlers and Skinners Guild which 
later became one of the most influential. Its 
guild hall was one of the first to be erected. 
And we find in the year 1422 that out of one 
hundred eleven different trades listed in Lon- 
don eleven of them were leather trades, and an 
entire section of the city was designated as cord- 
wainets or leather workers' wards. The word 
cordwainet comes from the French word -mean- 
ing Cordovan. Cordovan was a Spanish 
leather center, and this name is given today to 
a fine leather made of horsehide. It was often 
used by the Moors; and the Arabs no doubt 
used it as coverings or clothing or for riding 
apparel, since it is one of the most popular 
leathers used today for making cowboy chaps, 
and for the protection of clothing in a brushy 
country. You can turn the fleshy side out and 
it is practically impossible to snag or tear it. 
This leather is very soft and pliable and makes 
riding comfortable. It is also very popular as 
a lining for fine hand-bags, as it gives off a 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 19 

pleasant odor which is absorbed by the cloth- 
ing. 

During the Middle Ages, multitudes wore 
leather doublets, or hose, and upper slacks as 
the short breeches of that time were called* 
Shoes often took on fantastic shapes, with long 
points that at one period were fastened up to 
the knees with tassels and bells* That must be 
where the cowboy got the idea of jingling spurs. 
However, we find that the characteristic shoes 
of the Middle Ages did not have such exag- 
gerated toes* Although they ended in a point, 
the point was of soft leather fitting closely over 
the instep, with a high tab both in front and 
above the heel* We find that in the days of 
Henry VIII fashion went to another extreme; 
this time to width. The shoes of the king had 
a toe so wide that it left a shovel imprint. The 
leather was usually slashed so that the gaily 
colored hose could show through* It would 
seem that the fashion makers and designers of 
old, as now, were forever changing styles and 
creating the desire in human hearts to possess 
something new or different to break the monot- 
ony or to outdo the Jones' family across the 
way* 

I feel as if a story of the ancient history of 
leather would not be complete without a brief 
description of the important part leather has 
played in bringing data and messages by the 
authors of that day and age in book form or 
scrolls to people who were to follow them* It 
was during the Middle Ages that book-making 
perhaps reached its greatest perfection as an art 
with the parchment leather pages beautifully 



20 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

decorated or "illuminated" with silver and 
gold and every beautiful color known to the 
artsits of that day and age. These artists were 
usually monks. All books were lettered and 
illustrated by hand and most of this work was 
done in the numerous monasteries where the 
finest libraries were to be found, except in the 
palaces of the popes and kings. These days 
were before the invention of type, and the mak- 
ing of a book was a long, tedious process. Con- 
sequently, only the choicest materials were 
used. The reader will recall that even in 
Abraham Lincoln's boyhood a book was con- 
sidered almost sacred, and this was after type 
had been in use for some time. Parchments of 
some sort or another have been in use from the 
beginning of recorded history. Skins were em- 
ployed as writing material by the ancient 
Egyptians; there exist skin-rolls of writing 
which date back to some 1500 years before the 
birth of Christ. We find in Hurlbut's story 
of the Bible where wise and good King Josiah's 
men were at work repairing the Temple on 
Mount Mariah, removing rubbish to make the 
house holy and pure once more, when they 
found an old book written upon scrolls of leath- 
er. It was taken to the king immediately and 
found to be the law as given by Moses which 
had been hidden so long that man had forgot- 
ten it; and the good king commanded that all 
his subjects once more abide by the law. This 
parchment also contained the Ten Command- 
ments that every law of the land today is based 
upon. The reader will recall that Moses was 
reared by Pharaoh* s daughter and he no doubt, 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 21 

was familiar with the Egyptian process of writ- 
ing upon leather, for he was given a good edu- 
cation in the Egyptian culture of that day and 
age. History tells us that many books of the 
Bible as written by the old prophets were car- 
ried through the Dark Ages when man was try- 
ing to destroy the Bible, and that they were 
written upon scrolls of leather. So the Lord 
in his wisdom knew long before man that 
leather would last throughout the ages, for he 
made us a promise that His Word would not 
pass away. Masonry, which originated in the 
building of King Solomon's Temple, claims 
some credit for protecting the Bible through 
this period of the world's history. Some au- 
thorities claim that at one time in the world's 
history all Bibles were destroyed except two. 

In western Asia, the practice of writing upon 
skins was widespread at a very early period. 
The Jews made use of skin-rolls for their sacred 
books and, it is reasonable to presume, for other 
literature as well. And this practice has been 
maintained by them up to the present day, for 
synagogue rolls are still inscribed on this time- 
honored material. The Phoenicians and the 
Persians also inscribed their records on skins, 
as did the Ionian Greeks, according to Herodo- 
tus. We find the great libraries of Constan- 
tinople, Rome, Alexandria, and those of the 
emperors, monasteries, and wealthy nobles 
were full of these wonderful books, for we 
must remember that books were only available 
to the immensely rich or the aristocratic peoples 
of that day and age. 

Modern typing has brought the written 



22 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

word or thoughts of man down to where every 
boy can read to his heart's content* We find 
that many of these fine old books were destroy- 
ed in later years by war. In the Roman Em- 
pire during the period of its downfall, and dis- 
integration, and during the time in the early 
Middle Ages when fanaticism was responsible 
for the burning of many collections of pagen 
books, much of this ancient literature was lost; 
but some present great libraries of the world, 
both public and private, contain fine examples 
of "illuminated" scripture books and litanies 
with the parchment pages beautifully and intri- 
cately decorated in colors and gold-leaf, also in 
silver; and bound in handsomely hand- tooled 
leathers, often studded with jewels. There is 
said to be at least one example of the marvel- 
ous purple-dyed vellum with all the text let- 
tered in gold-leaf. It is a Bible that was pre- 
sented to Henry VIII of England as a corona- 
tion present by the Pope. 

During the Renaissance, the art of staining 
seems to have been lost or discontinued. We 
have many lost arts; one is the Egyptian art of 
embalming bodies; another is the making of 
Damascus steel which tradition tells us could 
be made to cut one of our modern swords as 
easily as one of our swords of today could be 
made to cut a lead sword. 

In the early times of the Romans, Greeks, 
and Pompeian tanners, most of the common 
workers were slaves, although a few were free 
men. One called Clion, the tanner, rose to 
great political power. During the early Chris- 
tian era, France, while it was still a province 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 23 

of the Roman Empire and called Gaul, gave us 
the patron saint of the shoemakers, St* Crispin. 
He is revered everywhere, but particularly in 
Italy, since Crispin was a descendant of a nohle 
Roman family* He embraced Christianity 
which was then against the law, and fled with 
his brother Crispiniamus to Gaul and worked 
at the shoemakers* trade in the town now call- 
ed Soissons* This man distinguished himself 
by helping to spread Christianity and by his 
many deeds of charity* Legend tells us his 
benevolence was so great that he even stole 
leather to make shoes for the poor who could 
not afford them* Both he and his brother 
died martyrs to their faith in the year 287 A* D; 
October 25 is called Saint Crispin's day in their 
honor* 

We find in the translation of the Bible in 
the year 1 6 1 1, in what is known as King James 
version, that much of it was written on scrolls* 
or parchments of leather* How good King 
James came to translate the Bible from various 
books would make a volume within itself* He 
was evidently guided and inspired by the hand 
of God in this noble piece of work* This is 
recognized by all civilized nations as the spoken 
word of our Lord and Savior to all humanity* 

This chapter would not be complete with- 
out giving some data on what our own Amer- 
ican Indians knew about leather when America 
was first discovered* The settlers found the In- 
dians well versed in the art of tanning* They 
used leather for many purposes, chiefly for 
clothing, tents, or tepees* These were usually 
made from buffalo hides* The tepee was the 



24 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

Indian's house or home in practically all tribes. 
The women did the work of dressing skins* 
The Indian also used leather for canoes, bow- 
strings, and many other purposes too numer- 
ous to mention. In almost all leathers made by 
them one may see the famous buckskin tan 
which makes a leather of exceeding softness and 
pliability. It is remarkable in its ability to 
keep out water. Many tribes of Indians wore 
garments and clothing of buckskin. They 
used buckskin for moccasins or foot wear. Deer 
were plentiful in all parts of America at that 
time. The Navajos were known for their skill 
in dressing hides and their ornamental decora- 
tions of leather. This trait is probably re- 
tained by the tribe to this day, as they are skill- 
ed artists in making and decorating Navajo 
blankets of many colors and designs. They 
also used native dyes in this blanket work 
known only to the tribe. The Crow Indians 
were generally known to have the best tanning 
methods in the art of skinning and dressing 
hides. Skins were collected and heaped into 
piles; then they were wet and allowed to de- 
compose long enough for the hair to slip; then 
they were scraped with bone tools or instru- 
ments until both the flesh and hair sides were 
perfectly clean. After that, the skin was rub- 
bed with a mixture of brains and liver from 
the animal. This was rubbed into the skin 
until it was thoroughly softened. This process 
preserves the fur and makes a soft pliable skin. 
The Crow Indian usually produced the dehair- 
ing and scraping of the skins by immersing 
them in a solution of lye made from wood ashes 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 25 

from their camp fires, ;As a final step in the 
process of curing skins, they were placed in a 
tepee in which a smudge wood fire had been 
built. The tepee was then closed as tightly as 
possible, and the skins were left in the smudge- 
smoked tepee for several days until all the skins 
had been thoroughly cured. The Indians also 
cut venison into strips, smoked and cured it in 
like manner, so that it would keep over a long 
period of time. Leather made this way and 
finished by smoking would withstand almost 
any kind of moisture and return to its original 
soft and pliable condition. Most of the North 
American Indian tribes fleshed their hides by 
scraping them with crude knives or pieces of 
sharp flint, scraping and cutting away all flesh 
that might still remain on the hide after it had 
been removed from the animal. 

The writer has seen X-ray pictures of 
Eskimo women with jaws and teeth shown, in 
which the teeth were all worn off practically 
even with the gums from using them to remove 
flesh from the hides. In some instances, on 
certain kinds of skins, these women chew the 
skin on the fleshy side in order to make it more 
pliable and soft. This practice no doubt de- 
velops strong jaws, but it wears the teeth out 
worse than the chewing tobacco of the old trail 
driver in a dusty country where he chewed it 
continuously. Personally, I could not recom- 
mend this practice from a sanitary standpoint. 
Dental measurements show the Eskimos jaws 
to be stronger than the jaws of most husky 
football players. They are also known as 
champion biters. One of the larger museums 



26 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

in Chicago has some good specimens of Eskimo 
skulls of these women of the Far North which 
show all the teeth worn off to a smooth surface, 
with no cusps left. Both the back and front 
teeth are worn off up close to the gums. Es- 
kimo women often chew seal skins in making 
mittens in order to make them more soft and 
pliable. They are known to even chew a boot 
sole in order that they may pass the needle 
through the leather more readily. This is said 
to make the sole more comfortable to the foot. 
Although our Indians made an excellent leather, 
they knew nothing about the method of oak 
bark tanning known to the European countries 
for many centuries. 

Leather, of course, played an important role 
in the life of the first American colonists, all 
of whom wore many leather articles made of 
the famous buckskin tan, and often patterned 
after the Indian's dress. High-top leather boots 
were worn much since roads and trails were 
crude. Saddles were in great demand in that 
time, and a first-rate saddler was considered a 
fine artisan. Later, sedan chairs and coaches 
were upholstered in leather, sometimes richly 
ornamented, probably hand-stamped or carved. 
The early day coaches were swung on stout 
leather straps instead of springs which were 
later used. Pony express riders carried the mail 
in leather bags to protect letters from the rain 
and snow, and every traveler had leather hand- 
bags. 

About this time in the development of 
America came the slaughter of the buffalo or 
American bison. The Indians considered these 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 27 

animals their property because they were the 
most important food of the Plains Indian, and 
they were here when the white man arrived. 
The Great Middle West from the plains of 
Canada to the mountains of old Mexico was 
literally teeming with them. The Indian never 
killed for commercial purposes; he followed 
the herd and killed what he needed for food 
and skins for his clothing and tepees. Along 
came the white man with his new, modern in- 
vention called the "repeating rifle/' The tan- 
neries had a set value for a buffalo hide; in most 
instances, it was a dollar. A plainsman with a 
good rifle could kill almost any number in a 
day with a crew called skinners following him 
up with nothing to do but skin the animal and 
leave the balance of the carcass to lie there and 
rot on the prairie, or for wolf bait and food 
for the vultures. 

We are a wasteful people, especially in 
America. But of all the wasteful things that 
have ever been countenanced by the American 
people, the slaughter of the buffalo was the 
worst. These raw, dried buffalo hides were 
staked out and let dry in the sun; then they 
were freighted into the eastern markets by the 
multiplied thousands. The tanners bought their 
hides from all over the world. The slaughter 
of the buffalo and the beginning of the first 
scientific development in the process of tan- 
ning occurred about the same time* No doubt 
the tanners had to call in chemical experts to 
try to produce a quicker and cheaper way of 
tanning this great mass of hides thrown upon 
the market. So let's try to think that some 



28 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

good to humanity came from this terrible waste 
and slaughter of our wild life. 

Up to the latter part of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, no one had made a scientific study of the 
tanning process of leather* For many centuries, 
it had remained practically the same, all the way 
back to the records of the Hebrews and the 
Egyptians. Each tanner had his own recipe 
and one method for practically all leathers. 
After the chemist began to make a scientific 
study of the chemicals best suited for tanning 
each kind of hide or skin, leather tanning made 
a wonderful change and is now a highly spe- 
cialized scientific art or process with millions of 
dollars being spent in study and research to 
make the finished product better and better. I 
will not attempt to cover this modern process 
of tanning all leathers, for it would take a book 
to describe it. 

Looking back through history, we can easily 
account for what sometimes seems like the pe- 
culiar geographical distribution of tanneries. 
Those making hemlock leather for example, 
established themselves along the streams or line 
of growth of the hemlock tree, through Penn- 
sylvania, New York, Michigan, and northern 
Wisconsin. Tanners that required oak bark, 
for oak tanning of leather followed a line 
through the mountains of Pennsylvania, West 
Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. 
When gold was discovered in California, in 
1849, this rush led to another discovery that 
of the California tan-bark oak which provided 
a new source of tanning materials. To this 
day we have a wonderful russet leather for sad- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 29 

die making called "oak-wood" which is made 
in California, not far from San Francisco. How- 
ever, Pennsylvania remains our largest tanning 
state, for its forests contain both oak and hem- 
lock. 

The tanning or making of leather has ad- 
vanced like everything else in this world; noth- 
ing stands still. In the old handicraft days of 
1849 there were 6,686 tanneries in this country. 
During the eighty odd years between then and 
now, the number has declined until in 1935 
there was only 383 in operation. In 1849 the 
6,686 plants employed only 25,000 people, 
while today the 383 tanneries employ more 
than twice that number, or 53,000 people. 
Wages paid to employees in 1849 were approxi- 
mately six and one-half million dollars, while 
the present annual payroll is more than fifty- 
eight million dollars. In 1849 the leather 
produced was worth about forty-three millions, 
while today's output would exceed three hun- 
dred millions annually. Tanning is one of 
America's most important industries. About 
four hundred million pairs of shoes alone are 
produced in the United States every year, which 
is more than any other country in the world 
produces. 

Tanning is an old and honored occupation, 
full of romance and adventure, for into the 
making of leather comes its ancient history 
intimately connected with the story of civiliza- 
tion itself. Represented by it is the active cattle 
industry of our western ranges; and the home 
of our cattlemen and our beloved American 
cowboys is known in song and story as a part 



30 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

of it also. The tanning of leather calls for 
workers in the northern hemlock forests; work- 
ers in the oak forests of the eastern mountains; 
workers in the mountains of California; adven- 
turous men even of the quebracho forests of 
Paraguay and Argentina. This tree derived its 
name from the Spanish word, qaebtar (to 
break) and hacha (ax) meaning therefore, 
ax-breaker or iron tree. This name was given 
the tree by the early Spanish explorers. Many 
a tropical jungle beset with poisonous reptiles 
and dangers of nature and climate helps in the 
process of tanning; and even the far away 
chromite mines of India contribute their stores. 
The oceans of the world lend their share of ad- 
venture to the men who kill the man-eating 
sharks; for shark leather has many commercial 
uses. Men hunt poisonous snakes, lizards, and 
alligators to provide exotic leathers for the shoes 
of our fair ladies. One bird is even known to 
produce a rare and little known commercial- 
ized leather, the African ostrich. They are 
raised primarily for their plumes, but the genu- 
ine leather has quill holes that are hard to im- 
itate; and these holes identify the genuine os- 
trich leather. 

From Australia there come 117 species of the 
kangaroo. Until about forty years ago when 
a thrifty American tanner discovered the kan- 
garoo skin, no one knew that it was one of the 
best obtainable for shoe leather. Until that 
time the kangaroo was looked on as a pest 
which destroyed crops, and there was a price 
on his head. But now, owing to his particular 
type of woven skin structure a mass of close- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 31 

ly intertwined and woven fibres running in 
every direction people who know have come 
to think of him as having one of the strongest 
known leathers for a given weight of thickness. 
Kangaroo skins are used to make one of the 
finest of uppers for cowboy dress boots. 

We have traced briefly the history of leather 
throughout the ages, and have witnessed the 
transition of it from a handicraft to a great 
modern industry. From every nation under 
the sun, the raw products of hides and skins 
flow through the channels of commerce into 
the United States. Animals both familiar and 
strange to the laymen, from every land, con- 
tribute to the raw materials of the leather in- 
dustry. Chemicals and minerals from mines, 
tree barks, shrubs, and plants that contain 
minerals that are essential to the fine art of tan- 
ning come from practically all countries of the 
world. 

It is obvious that hides and skins differ on 
all animals, for they have a marked difference 
in the finished product, and are suitable for dif- 
ferent uses. The skin of a calf, for instance, is 
quite unlike the hide of a grown cow or steer. 
Leather made from the calf skin is therefore 
quite different from leather made of a full 
grown animal; it is used for different purposes 
in the commercial world. Cattle are one of the 
most useful animals known to man, from the 
days of old down to this present modern age. 
The hides that come from these animals have 
the most universal uses, for since the leather is 
thick enough, it can be split many times and 
each split has a different commercial use. 



32 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

Leather that comes from cattle is practically 
the only leather made that is adapted to the 
engravers art of stamping or carving by hand* 
There are five known processes of tanning 
today, which are as follows: vegetable, chrome, 
combination, alum or alum-chrome, and oil. 
By vegetable tanning we mean the use of oak- 
bark, for example, or the use of chemicals taken 
from the barks of different kinds of trees. 
Vegetable materials grown throughout the 
world are used to produce the vegetable tan* 
This process is used to tan more leathers than 
any of the other processes* Vegetable tanning 
is used altogether to produce all carving or 
stamping leathers* All these vegetables used in 
tanning leather contain one essential character- 
istic in common they contain certain quanti- 
ties of tannin which is a substance needed to 
produce a vegetable tan* Bark, woods, nuts, 
and leaves that contain this tannin are selected* 
Infinite care with each individual hide tanned 
is necessary* A hide is nature's product; it 
never grows wrong if properly treated* A 
well tanned piece of leather is something that 
cannot be approached or duplicated by any- 
thing that man can fabricate* It has the inherent 
quality of containing millions of fibers closely 
knit together* When properly tanned, these 
fibers become stronger than in nature and still 
retain their pliability* Their imperviousness 
to water still allows the leather to breathe by 
admitting a certain amount of air just as they 
did when they were on the animal's body* The 
other constituent parts of the hide are made 
nearly indestructible by tanning, and the leather 




GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE 

A Christian gentleman of indomitable courage, unswerving faith in God. 
He was offered command of the Union forces when war broke out between 
the States, but he declined stating he could not bear arms against his native 
Virginia and his beloved South. History accords him a place among the 
greatest military geniuses the world has ever produced. The fact that he 
fought for four lonp years, against unlimited resources in both men and 
equipment, while his men were poorly equipped, poorly fed and poorly 
clothed, lacking in all the necessities of war. His men begged him to go on 
when he surrendered. What other General has ever come out of any war 
in defeat the deified hero of his people? He was the South's guiding star 
m her darkest hour of war and reconstruction. His example will ever stand 
as all that is noble and best in life. If ever there was a man whom destiny 
seemed to intend for a fateful role that man was Robert E. Lee. Evidence 
of that fact was supplied by an experience of his mother. On one occasion 
according to excellent authorities, she was pronounced dead and her body 
placed within the family vault. But for some unknown reason, someone 
investigated and discovered signs of life. She was revived and lived to bear 
the son who worshipped her in life Robert E. Lee. 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 33 

becomes a product which is impossible to dupli- 
cate* It has proven its worth through the cen- 
turies and has never been approached for quali- 
ty in any way. 

No two hides are alike; just as no two people 
are alike. It becomes a case of taking infinite 
pains with each individual hide tanned and the 
same principle applies to the leather worker 
that he should take great care in making the 
leather into saddles, bags, or any other com- 
mercial product. I have found from experience 
in carving objects upon leather, that each in- 
dividual hide has a distinct personality, or 
works just a little bit different from the one 
previously worked* All leather is produced 
from perishable hides and skins. The cover- 
ing with which nature has endowed the ani- 
mal is chemically a very complex substance. 
According to chemists, hides and skins are made 
to a large extent of proteins about the ultimate 
nature of which not too much is known even 
today. In the case of tanning heavy cattle 
hides, from two to six months time is required 
even today when all the modern processes are 
employed. Before the time of modernization in 
tanning, it required from one to two years in 
which to properly tan a thick cowhide. 

Chrome tanning of leather was perfected in 
Philadelphia by an American named Robert 
Foerderer. It is purely a chemical process. The 
first development in chrome tanning was made 
by an American chemist named Augustus 
Schultz; however the first ef forts of Schultz 
produced leather that was stiff and too hard 
for commercial purposes. But through Foer- 



34 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

derer's enterprise in developing the discoveries 
of Schultz, chrome tanning was later firmly es- 
tablished. Most of the chemicals in chrome tan- 
ning come from chromite. This same mineral 
has become very useful in chromium plating of 
steel instruments and metal of various kinds. 
It prevents rusting. In tanning, the chrome salts 
form tanning sodium or potassium bichromate. 
Most of the chromite mines are found in Brit- 
ish and Portuguese Africa, Greece, Brazil, and 
French Oceania. These countries provide the 
world's major supply. However, there are 
some chromite mines in the western states. It 
all depends on the kind of tanning method used 
in turning a cowhide into the kind of leather 
you want. If one process is used, you will 
have stiff, hard, compressed sole-leather; if 
another process, you will have thick, heavy, 
saddle leather; if another, you will have chap 
leather for cowboy breeches; if another, a lea- 
ther for glove making; and if still another, you 
will have leather suitable for shoe uppers. 

Glue and hair are by-products of the cow- 
hide. Hair is used in the plaster work of build- 
ings. One of the most palatable of foods comes 
froin the inner side of fresh packer hides 
gelatin. Scientists claim it is one of the purest 
of foods manufactured, as no human hands 
touch it from the process of making until it 
reaches the consumer. 

There are a number of other raw materials 
in addition to those briefly mentioned which 
are essential to the leather industry. They are 
far too numerous to describe singly, but two 
are of enough importance to describe briefly. 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 35 

Modern tanning depends greatly on the chemi- 
cal industry for a large variety of products es- 
sential to the production of good leather: lime 
for dehairing purposes and synthetic tanning 
materials acids, such as lactic, and sulphuric, 
and many other chemicals. Oxalic acid will 
clean leather after it has been stained* How- 
ever, on russet leather it will darken the surface 
slightly. 

Perhaps one of the most important chemical 
groups consists of dyes. A certain per cent of 
them are derived from plants and trees. Prac- 
tically all of the Indian dyes come from this 
source, even today. But most of our leather 
dyes are a chemical product of coal-tar. The 
brilliant colors produced from coal-tar are 
superior to the hues of nature and enable the 
tanners to dye leather almost any color that 
fashion dictates. Owing to the porousness and 
the absorbing qualities of leather before it has 
all the finishing touches put on it, dyes will 
soak well into the leather and cause it to retain 
its colors better and longer than many other 
articles of commerce. 

Many kinds of oil and grease, chemically 
treated are indispensable in the production of 
different types of leather. For, during the 
process of tanning, most of the oil and natural 
fat is removed from the hides and skins. This 
must be replaced after tanning in order to give 
beauty and long wear to the finished leather. 
You will recall that I made the statement in 
this article that if oil or suitable animal fat were 
replaced at least once a year, in all probability, 
leather would last forever; for it lasted many 



36 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

centuries sealed up in the Egyptian tombs with 
no replacement of animal fat during this long 
period of concealment. This oil provides a 
lubricant for the millions of tiny fibers of which 
leather is composed. Many tons of cod and 
other fish oils, Neat's foot oil which is con- 
sidered one of the best, linseed, white petrol- 
eum (vaseline), tallow, woolgrease, and many 
others contribute to the strength, life, beauty, 
and durability of good leather. They com- 
prise one of the most essential products of all 
raw materials used in the manufacture of good 
leather. 

We have only touched briefly, hitting the 
high spots, so to speak, of the important fac- 
tors and uses of leather to mankind. To cover 
it thoroughly would require the scope of a 
small library which would doubtless have ar- 
ticles on the history of leather in the costume, 
in armor, and in other pursuits of man. 

The everlasting quality of leather in trans- 
mitting the written word is made known to us 
in the Bible. There is the art of saddlery and 
its various branches, the ornamenting of leather 
with precious jewels, gold, silver, and precious 
stones, and the hand-carving of this product. 

A good book could be written on the history 
of shoes. Moccasins recall pictures of American 
history: the Indian with his tepee of skin and 
his beaded buckskin clothing, followed by the 
frontiersman, with leather stockings, building 
log forts in the wilderness and blazing a trail 
for his posterity to follow. Sandals recall the 
Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians, and all classes 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 37 

of civilization on the shores of the Mediter- 
ranean. 

The word boots makes a romantic history of 
itself, and brings many pictures of the past 
down to the present time of the West. We see 
the jack-booted Elizabethians, Sir Walter 
Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, Frobisher, and a 
host of others gallantly swaggering through 
romantic history; the Cavaliers and Round- 
heads, and later, the uproarious captains and 
pirates of the Spanish Main, and on down to 
our modern booted cowboy with a high heel 
so made onto the boot that his foot will not 
slip through the stirrup when he is topping off 
his mount on a cold frosty morning. It was 
not so many days past in the old West when 
practically all men and most boys wore boots 
at work or at play; and even to church on 
Sunday, or to see the lady fair, for a fine pair 
of cowboy boots made put of kangaroo leather 
looks good to anyone in any kind of society. 
In the West today, you will see many men who 
can grace the ballroom floor in any kind of so- 
ciety with their boots on and never make a mis- 
step. I may say that I have not seen a cowboy 
dancing with spurs on his boots since I was a 
boy, but I have had the experience of watching 
dances when I was too small to participate in 
them, where the cowboys wore spurs while 
they danced. Many of the ladies also wore 
cowboy boots with fancy tops. I would like 
to add that I have never witnessed or heard 
of any lady getting spurred while performing 
"do-ce-do" or "circle four/' in the middle of 
the floor. I have seen four couples perform a 



38 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

square dance on horseback. All parties had 
boots and spurs on, and the horses seemed to 
enjoy the dance as much as the folks, stepping 
lively to the tune of the music of "Leather 
Breeches/' 

Leather is nature's own product, and the 
only substance comparable with the human 
skin itself* It breathes, or will allow the pas- 
sage of air, yet remains practically water-proof. 
When thoroughly tanned, it is just as pliable 
as on the animal, and becomes stronger than It 
is in nature* In boot and shoe wear, it is ab- 
solutely necessary that heat and moisture from 
the foot be passed off, for the pores of our skin 
continually give off moisture. If this moisture 
should accumulate and could not be passed off, 
there would be great discomfort; also, irrita- 
tions and foot ailments would follow. So we 
find designers and craftsmen trained in the art 
schools of the world using their genius to create 
improvements, new styles, beautiful oramenta- 
tions, and new designs. Research laboratories 
are constantly experimenting to add new im- 
provements and scientific discoveries in method 
or in use, trying to find new ways of improv- 
ing the most historical of useful materials 
known to mankind leather. 



PULLIN' LEATHER 

Yes, a Cowboy has his troubles, and he shore is out of 

luck, 
Out a dozen miles from nowhere and his hoss begins to 

buck; * 



HISTORICAI CARVINGS IN LEATHER 39 

And he picks a place to practice on some mighty ugly 

ground, 
Fer you'd land amongst the cactus if he ever got you 

down. 

So you aim to keep a straddle and you'll ride him if you 
can, 

Else they'll be a dehorned saddle, or they'll be a one- 
armed man. 

You don't look like much vaquero, he is floppin' yore 
shirt tails. 

You have lost yore old sombrero and you've broke some 
finger nails. 

People say that pullin' leather don't show ridin' skill. 

That's true. 
But you'd like to stick together till the argument is 

through. 
When yo're a slippin' and a slidin', you'll admit at all 

events, 
If it doesn't show good ridin' that it shows a heap of 

sense. 

When yo're sure it ain't so pleasant with a dozen miles 

to walk. 
No, there ain't nobody present, and the hoss of course 

cain't talk. 
You are hangin' on a prayin'. You ain't makin' no 

grand stand. 
You jest aim to keep a stayin', and you do the best you 

can. 

By Bruce Kiskaddon 

Used by permission of the Los Angeles Union Stock Yards 



A BRIEF HISTORY OF HISTORICAL 
CARVINGS 



The first large carving that I designed and 
made was of two bull elk fighting in a mortal 
struggle, I called it The Combat. It is ap- 
proximately two and one-half by three and 
one-half feet in size. Up to this time I had 
carved several small objects on leather hand- 
bags, saddle finders, bill-folds, and other small 
articles. I had been designing and carving such 
objects as steers and horses' heads,, and dogs, 
and deer being chased by mountain lions. One 
day I was visiting in the home of a lady in Lub- 
bock and saw a large, beautiful painting of two 
bull elks fighting. The thought immediately 
occurred to me that I could reproduce this paint- 
ing by carving the same things on leather, and 
so I sketched it off on paper and later repro- 
duced it on leather. It looks far more natural 
than the original painting, for the elk stand 
out on the leather somewhat as if they were 
sculptured. In fact the original carvings as 
reproduced in this book are really a combina- 
tion of art and sculpture work, for both prin- 
ciples are involved in completing a large leather 
carving. 

The combat or death struggle of these two 

40 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 41 

bull elk is typical of the fights which occur 
among the males of the entire deer family, es- 
pecially during the breeding or running season. 
Many times the larger or stronger male will 
gore the weaker one to death. On other oc- 
casions they will back off and run at each other 
striking their horns together with such force 
that the horns become interlocked. Then it 
is impossible for them to separate themselves, 
and both animals will die from starvation un- 
less some rancher, hunter, or forest ranger comes 
along and discovers the predicament they are 
in and saws off one of the horns to relieve the 
locked condition. Fighting among the males, 
or the survival of the fittest, is one of nature's 
laws in building up and perpetuating the ani- 
mal kingdom, and we find both animals and 
men often lose their lives in fighting over the 
lady fair of the species. 

The next carving I designed and carved was 
The Pioneer or old covered wagon. After I 
was born, Mother and Dad got homesick as 
folks will often do in a new country, and moved 
back to their native state, Arkansas. But they 
had been there only two years when they de- 
cided the grass was greener in Texas; so they 
moved back there in a covered wagon. I was 
just old enough to remember some of the more 
important events of this return trip to Texas, 
riding in the wagon which was drawn by two 
very large mules named Jack and Jake. Old 
Jake was balky, and Father had been sick and 
could hardly drive them in tight, rough places. 
We crossed the Kiamichi River not far from the 
town of Antlers in the southeastern part of 



42 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 



the state of Oklahoma* When we started up 
the steep, slippery banks, old Jake balked. A 
big, strong fellow came along with a long black- 
snake whip and began to use it on old Jake. 
The mule soon decided it was a great deal 
healthier some other place, Dad said later that 
he believed the old mule was sorry he quit on 
the job, and he never gave the other mule a 
chance to help him pull the load. Mother and 
I got out and walked up the bank. 

We made two more treks in covered wagons 
while I was still a small boy. However, the 
latter one was made when I had reached an age 
at which I was large enough to drive one of the 
wagons in the train all by myself. I drove a 
pet mare that was one of the first horses I ever 
owned, and a black horse called old Bob. I 
know he was the laziest horse that ever lived, 
and if he ever got scared at anything no one 
ever heard of it. He took his own good time 
at everything he went at. So Dad eliminated all 
possibility of a run-away, for old Pet would 
have had to pull the wagon over him if she had 
got scared and wanted to run away. Those 
treks made an everlasting impression of the 
Covered Wagon on my mind. Dad gave a 
good saw-mill and one hundred acres of pine 
timber for the two mules and wagon in which 
we moved to Texas. 

When we lived in Oklahoma, I helped my 
Grandfather Allen make wagons in his shop. 
All of this knowledge which I had gained 
through first-hand information or experience 
as a boy was very beneficial when I started carv- 
ing this old prairie schooner and four oxen, on 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 43 

leather. This carving is a few inches over three 
by six feet, all carved on one solid piece of 
russet leather. I made an extensive study of 
all the old paintings of wagons and prairie 
schooners and found that many of them had 
been drawn by artists who were not familiar 
with all the working parts of a wagon. Most 
of them had no life about their pictures; they 
just showed the oxen or mules and nothing else. 
Human beings evidently drove those wagons 
into the great Southwest. So I endeavored to 
show in this carving life as it really was. It 
is made to show the wagon moving along on a 
moonlight night with old Shep trotting under 
the wagon and the plodding oxen leisurely 
trudging along their way. To show any life 
in the wagon, I had to tie the wagon-sheet up 
in front between the first and second bows 
which I have seen done on many occasions. By 
doing this, I could show the woman driving, 
with her sun-bonnet dropped back on her neck 
so that you can see her face looking to the west, 
approaching the rolling hill country. The 
little boy is sitting beside his mother with his 
hand in her lap, looking forward to new ad- 
ventures and anticipations of all the tomorrows 
of the journey, for there are no thoughts of 
sorrow or sadness in a healthy youngster's 
mind; the world is before him and he is free to 
build air castles until they reach the skies or 
become lost in the distant mountains. It mat- 
ters not with him, at this age in life, if later on 
he is able to make very few of his dreams come 
true. Little thought does he give to the adver- 
sities, droughts, storms, dangers, and heart- 



44 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

aches that are before him* He is dreaming of 
the land of tomorrow that has become the land 
of yesterday to us of today. 

We should live more in our memories, to do 
honor to our forefathers who had the courage 
and perseverance to carve a home out of a wil- 
derness with all its sorrows and dangers so that 
their children might not know, and have to 
endure the hardships that they had endured. 
Long may their memories live in the hearts of 
men; and may we never forget that the bless- 
ings and luxuries that we of today enjoy were 
bought with a price hardships, self sacrifice, 
heartaches, and often blood which the present 
generation can't conceive of. Our present gen- 
eration takes advancement as a matter of 
course, seldom ever giving it a second thought. 

The man riding the horse behind the wagon 
shows the father stopping the horse to look 
back, with his Winchester across the hollow of 
his arm, ever looking for the danger that may 
be within striking distance of his little family. 
He feels a responsibility that lies heavily on 
his young shoulders, for every mile the oxen 
trudge into this new southwestern land is 
strange to him; he knows it is beset with out- 
laws, or degenerates of his own race, who are 
ever ready to steal, or even murder if that is 
necessary to gain what they want from the new 
settlers who are venturing into this strange 
land. And so the covered wagon has rolled 
along, singing a song, and rolled into history; 
and it is now known only in song and story. 

The next carving I designed and made was of 
the Indians and buffalo, called The Buffalo 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 45 

Hunt of 1836* It shows the Indian at a sport 
which was also a necessity: the killing of his 
winter meat supply. I have been asked many 
times by old timers how I ever designed a carv- 
ing that was so realistic of Indians hunting 
the buffalo which really took place many years 
before my day and age* 

When I was a boy I had an inquisitive mind; 
I was sincere in my questions and I endeavored 
to remember what was told to me by old men* 
And if you don't think an old gentleman or 
lady can relate experiences of life that are really 
interesting, you have missed something* I have 
never failed to contact an old person, regardless 
of his education or social standing* who could 
not tell me many things that I did not know* 
They have learned them in the school of hard 
knocks or the experiences of life* My grand- 
father said a few years before he passed on, 
that it would be a great pleasure to him to be 
able to transfer to my mind all the many things 
he had learned over a long* eventful life* from 
nature and observation* I have interviewed 
old buffalo hunters who had actually seen the 
Comanche or Plains Indians killing buffalo* 
just like this carving is reproduced on leather* 

The Comanche Indians were expert horse- 
men and the best bareback riders the world has 
ever produced* I make that statement without 
fear of contradiction* They were also very ef- 
ficient in the use of the bow and arrow and 
spears which they sometimes used in slaughter- 
ing the beasts* Each Indian had a prize buf- 
falo horse that he valued more than almost any 
thing in his possession* I imagine the horse 



46 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

was somewhat like our modern cutting horses 
that we work cattle with. Tradition tells us 
some of the requirements of the Plains tribes. 
Before one could become the chief of his tribe, 
he had to steal a buffalo horse from another 
chief while the horse was staked to the tent 
stake or wigwam of the rival chieftain. To 
do this stunt successfully was considered a great 
achievement; no doubt it was. The buffalo 
horse had to be swift of foot and must obey the 
Indian's commands or be guided by his knees 
and crowd in close to the old bull he selected 
in order to place arrow after arrow into his side 
before he would finally stumble and fall to 
earth never to rise. It was the buck's duty to 
kill the buffalo; it was the squaw's duty to skin 
and prepare the meat and hides for use. The 
buffalo may look like a clumsy beast, but it is 
a known fact that he could take a long swing- 
ing lope and keep it up for hours without slack- 
ing his pace in the least. And there were very 
few horses, regardless of how good they were, 
that could carry a man and overtake a buffalo 
while they were traveling down hill. 

The Indian did most of his effective work 
in wounding or killing the animals while they 
were traveling up an incline or grade As I 
have stated elsewhere in this book, he killed 
only the males except in cases of dire necessity. 
What a bitter pill of disgust it must have been 
to him to sit idly by and watch the white man's 
willful slaughter and waste! In the fall of the 
year, or almost any time except in the breeding 
season, the male buffalo would congregate to- 
gether like other game; and so The Buffalo 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 47 

Hunt was conceived. It depicted the Co- 
manche Indians at their favorite sport of a 
century ago on their happy hunting grounds 
here on earth. When the Indian went home to 
the great spirit he had no thought in his mind 
other than that when he took the long, last 
journey from whence no traveler has ever re- 
turned, he along with his favorite horse and 
dog, would go to the last happy hunting 
ground in the skies* 

The next carving I created was The Stage- 
coach which is three by six feet and carved on 
one solid piece of leather. It shows an old 
transcontinental, or overland stage drawn by 
four horses. This carving has the horses carved 
on the leather, and then the harness is carved 
on the horses. The horses are shown or carved 
in a long trot. The coach is loaded with five 
passengers; in the back seat is an old man with 
a cane and long beard, and alongside of him is 
an elderly lady. In the middle of the coach is 
a prosperous looking rancher and his wife, and 
in front of them sits a homesick boy adventur- 
ing into a strange land. Perhaps he has left a 
girl behind of whom he is dreaming. On top 
of the coach you can see a large bag of United 
States mail and a scout or lookout with a Win- 
chester watching all sides of the trail to protect 
the mail as well as passengers. The driver is 
shown with a long trail whip in his hand which 
he uses to pop over the horses' heads. This 
usually produced the desired effect or goad to 
urge them over the road at any speed he de- 
sired. Of course in some instances he would 
hit the horses with the whip, especially if they 



48 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

were tired and worn out from a long trek and 
it was almost time to change them for a fresh 
team. Alongside of the driver is another guard 
or scout with a Winchester who kept a sharp 
lookout at all times* 

Many were the hardships and dangers the 
traveler of seventy-five or a hundred years ago 
had to endure, but they were all a part of that 
day and age and before the coming of the rails 
with the iron horse. After all, it is doubtful if 
the dangers which beset the traveler of a hun- 
dred years ago took as many lives proportional- 
ly as our modern automobiles of today take on 
our modern highways. The old stagecoach 
is like the prairie schooner; it has served its use- 
fulness and rolled along into past history. It 
was a vehicle of vast importance at one time to 
the development of the West, 

My next carving is The Round-up which is 
carved on one solid piece of leather approx- 
imately three by six feet, in memory of the 
great cattle industry of the Southwest, This vast 
domain at one time was considered the greatest 
cow country on earth. This carving shows a 
breakfast scene around a typical cow-camp, I 
designed and carved these characters from men 
whom I have known in the past and from 
the memory of associations with men of this 
type when I was a boy working on a cow 
ranch on the north plains of Texas. The 
right side of the carving shows the end of 
a chuck wagon with a typical ranch cook 
and chuck wagon box, placed therein, the 
lid let down using a plank as a leg to prop 
it up for a table or work bench for the cook to 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 49 

prepare his meals on. Some authorities give 
Colonel Charles Goodnight credit for having 
introduced the first chuck wagon on the trail. 
The barrel of water, dishpan, bedding rolls, 
and saddles of the cowboys who have not as 
yet saddled their mounts for the day are scat- 
tered about the camp. We had a cook who 
was a chunky man and rather slouchy in his 
appearance, grouchy, and contrary as hell. His 
store-bought boots were usually run over and 
he cooked in his undershirt when the weather 
would permit. He usually wore an old slouch 
hat turned up in front and generally needed a 
shave. There is no doubt but what a cowboy 
topping off a bronc close to the chuck wagon 
can sure mess things up, especially if he hap- 
pens to pitch in close to the wagon. So let's 
think that he is excusable in running at this 
cowboy with a butcher knife in one hand and 
a frying pan in the other yelling "Get to hell 
out of here/' The poor cowboy is having hard 
enough time staying on the bronc. Another 
boy has jumped up in a hurry to get out of the 
way of the pitching horse, and is falling over 
a tomato box. He is trying to save his coffee 
and beans as he falls. We had a fellow whose 
first name was Cal, who always had a good 
horse and saddle and went well dressed. He 
has his rope down ready to catch the horse, in 
case it throws the rider and starts to run off. 
His horse is carved on the leather and the saddle 
then is carved on the horse all in one solid 
piece. One corner of the rope corral is shown 
in the extreme left-hand corner of the carving, 
with a bale of hay on the ground and part of 



SO HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

two horses. We had an old, long, tall, droll 
boy from Arkansas, who always had a big dip 
of snuff in his lower lip when not eating; I 
have seen him take a drink of water many times 
and never remove the snuff. He is shown 
standing up by the chuck box, just about as 
excited over the performance as he ever got over 
anything. The foreman is sitting down on a 
bedding role finishing his breakfast, taking no 
part in the occurrence; however, after it is over, 
he will more than likely tell the boy to mount 
his bronc farther away from the camp next 
time. A large coffee pot and bucket are hang- 
ing on the anvil-irons over the fire; and near- 
by is an old Dutch oven with some live coals 
under it, baking the morning sour-dough bis- 
cuits. Near the fire is some mesquite wood 
with an ax lying across the wood. No cattle 
are shown in this carving, for the simple reason 
that they would create too much dust. The 
herd was usually held a quarter of a mile or 
more from where camp was made and the cook 
prepared the meals. 

The Transport of 1936 is a carving three by 
six feet, carved out of one solid piece of leather, 
and shows a large tri-motored passenger plane 
banking and coming into port. This carving 
is purely mechanical, and shows no life. For 
that reason I was never able to work up much 
enthusiasm in designing and making it; how- 
ever, the plane is now an important factor in 
our transcontinental travel and merits some at- 
tention in the field of art. Many brave men 
have lost their lives in the experimental de- 
velopment of it. It helps to make neighbors 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 51 

put of other nations far away, and it may some- 
time help to destroy the resources of an enemy 
in time of war. No doubt it makes all nations 
closer to each other and can be used as a great 
instrument of defense as well as offence, if war 
should ever come to our peace-loving people, 
The airplane does not have to have expensive 
road-beds to travel over; it is somewhat like 
the ocean liner in that it cuts a swath, not 
through the water, but through the air. No 
doubt future generations will see far more de- 
velopment in the airplane; they may become 
as common as our automobiles of today. 

The carving of The Wild Stallion on Guard 
is approximately three by four feet. It shows 
one of God's most noble creatures in the animal 
world. The horse has been domesticated and 
put to many uses in assisting mankind in either 
at work or play. He is ever willing to give his 
all. I have hunted deer in the Big Bend of 
Texas and have seen a fine, wild stallion 
standing on some wind-swept point, watching 
for his enemies; and of all the enemies he has to 
contend with, man is his worst, for it is man 
who can take his freedom away from him. The 
mountain lion is extremely fond of colts but 
seldom attacks grown horses. When man 
catches a wild horse, he breaks him to his will, 
often breaking his spirit while doing this. 

This particular carving shows a fine horse 
that the hand of man has never touched, stand- 
ing on a wind-swept point, with an old, gnarled 
and twisted, dead cedar tree hanging onto the 
edge of the cliff. In the background you can see 
two steep cliffs with two eagles soaring around 



52 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

a point, probably watching over the two young 
eaglets that are hid away somewhere high up 
among the vastness of the mountains* When 
mortal man gets to feeling his importance here 
on earth he should make a trip far back into 
the big mountains. He should start early with 
his lunch and gun, and climb hard until about 
three in the afternoon. By that time he will 
have capped rim-rock after rim-rock, thinking 
that each one will bring him out on top. He 
will, by then, begin to realize that he is not 
more than half way to the top; but in looking 
back, down the mountain into the valley be- 
low he will be almost afraid of his distance from 
the bottom. He could get into a basket attach- 
ed to a steel cable and glide for miles and miles 
before reaching the valley. Or perhaps he would 
prefer to sit down and meditate over this vast 
piece of earth and rocks where he is perched. 
He will then begin to realize that he is only as 
a grain of sand on the seashore. But he does 
not have long to meditate, unless he wants to 
reach camp long after dark. 

The horse can go anywhere in the mountains 
or plains and never become lost. When do- 
mesticated, he has a homing instinct; and if you 
will give him his head he will bring you in to 
the old corral. Unless you watch your step or 
are familiar with the mountains, you should 
mark certain points or trees and impress on 
your mind that they are in a certain direction 
from camp; for the vastness is so great that you 
are liable to become lost and panicky unless you 
are a very level-headed person. If you do be- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER S3 

come lost, it's almost a cinch you will become 
panicky. 

This stallion in the carving is shown with a 
long mane and tail which nature provides for 
the horse that is left to run as a stud. He will 
also develop an enormous neck such as all males 
have, for you must remember no collar or hand 
has ever been placed on that neck to reduce it 
in size. He is just like his Creator made him, 
uncontaminated with the things that go with 
taming him or making him a horse accustomed 
to the ways and uses of man. I don't imagine 
he is bothered with the jitters or nervous in- 
somnia. It is not uncommon for a wild or do- 
mesticated horse to live seven times his age at 
maturity. Maybe we human beings could do 
that also if we lived as simple lives as the horse 
family, as free from dissipations. The Bible 
tells us it is a sin to abuse our bodies, for they 
are only loaned to us to use for the short time 
we are here on this earth. It also tells us that 
we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Next 
to man's, I think that the horse's body is more 
wonderfully made as to beauty and intelligence 
than any other except the dog. The horse is 
very beautiful to look at, and regardless of how 
much you feed him, he will never get so fat as 
to get all out of proportion like human beings 
do. jA fellow standing by the roadside one day 
remarked, "Look what a pretty horse^' A 
blind man overheard the remark and said "My, 
isn't he fat!" I have never seen a real ugly 
horse that was fat and in good condition. 

Of all the carvings that I have created the 
one of the late Will Rogers has caused the 



54 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

most interest and comment I spent close to 
1,800 hours in drawing, designing, and carv- 
ing this life-sized likeness of "our Will/' It is 
carved on one solid piece of leather three by 
seven feet; and is carved his exact size in life, 
even to the size of the boots he wore. The 
only criticism I have ever received on this carv- 
ing is that it is too good; it should be more 
slouchy. My contention is that Will could look 
as nice as anyone when he wanted to; the care- 
lessness in his wearing apparel was more or less 
a trade mark that he used for comment, for no 
doubt Rogers was at all times the master show- 
man. This carving shows Will twirling a rope 
and cracking jokes. While he was spinning a 
yarn, he would let the outside of the rope sag 
down, all the while talking in his particular 
drawl, keeping the audience in laughter, usual- 
ly about some friendly wisecrack or comment 
on some particular person whom they knew 
real well. Then, at the end of the joke, he 
would whirl the rope faster, working it higher 
while the crowd was doubled up with laughter. 
I have been asked on many occasions what 
this carving is worth. That all depends on the 
value you wish to place on anything of this 
nature; but owing to the unusualness of the 
carving medium, the everlasting qualities of 
fine leather, and the likeness of this famous 
man, it should be worth a considerable sum of 
money. I have refused a tidy sum for it to 
date. Basing its value on labor alone, it would 
run into much money, for it is not uncommon 
for a good dentist to make $10 an hour at the 
chair. Multiply, that by 1800 hours and add 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 55 

your material, and it should be worth around 
$25,000. It will last indefinitely and retain 
its original likeness if given even reasonable 
care. Many fine old oil paintings have peeled 
and rotted until the workmanship does not 
look at all like the original piece of work; yet 
they are valuable. Why shouldn't a leather 
carving be, also? The epitaph, which is carved 
on a large leather scroll at the bottom of the 
carving reads: "WILL ROGERS, America's 
foremost philosopher. Presidents, Kings, Po- 
tentates, Actors, Stagehands, Cowboys, Labor- 
ers, Senators, and Congressmen were his friends, 
but none escaped his sharp wit. Loved and 
admired by all classes, yet he never lost the com- 
mon touch. All humanity looked the same to 
'Our Will/ He wise-cracked all of us, but 
often said, 1 never met a man that I did not 
like/ Born in Oklahoma, November 4, 1879. 
Died in Alaska, August 15, 1935." 

My next carving was the one of Our Savior. 
It is carved out of one solid piece of leather 
three by seven feet. It shows the Christ ap- 
proximately life size, standing in front of a 
door knocking, with a staff in his left hand 
signifying that he is ever the good shepherd. 
On a large leather scroll at the bottom of the 
carving, you will find the entire Lord's Prayer. 
Over his head on another scroll is carved the 
passage of Scripture that reads: Genesis 6:3 
"And The Lord Said, My Spirit Shall Not Al- 
ways Strive With Man/' This carving of Oar 
Savior was conceived from the passage of Scrip- 
ture that reads: "Behold, I stand at the door 
and knock/* The door is swung with three 



56 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

silver hinges and has a silver door-handle and 
lock. This silver has been placed on the leather 
somewhat like silver plating on leather, even 
to the screws that hold the hinges on the door. 
The entire door is carved in panels, showing a 
mahogany finish which is one of the finest 
wood finishes known to man. The outside or 
door facing shows a continuous vine-work of 
carved raised-flower stamp work. If you can 
visualize a large piece of leather three by seven 
feet and understand the work of going over 
each square inch three and four, or sometimes 
more times, all by hand, using fine carving in- 
struments, with sometimes as many as forty or 
fifty cuts or licks to the square inch, you can 
get some idea of about how much hard, tedious 
work it requires to complete one of these carv- 
ings. And remember that any time you let an 
instrument slip or make a miss-lick you have 
ruined a valuable piece of work; for there is 
no way of rubbing out your mistakes. Work- 
ing under these conditions almost anyone will 
become nervous, and it is nearly impossible not 
to make some kind of a slip some place or some 
way. Perhaps the mistake would not be notice- 
able to anyone but yourself or some other ex- 
pert leather worker, and practically invisible 
to the average person. Old leather workers will 
tell you it's almost impossible to complete a 
large piece of stamp work and not make a single 
mistake. But you can "believe it or not/' there 
is not a single mistake or slip of the instrument 
in the carving of Our Savior. ;As far as the 
workmanship is concerned, it is as perfect as 
it is possible to carve so large a piece of work. 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 57 

And as to flaws or mistakes, it is as perfect as 
the man. Many people have asked me what 
I used as a model for this Christ carving* Owing 
to the old Mosaic law of "no graven images/' 
one man's conception of how Christ looked is 
as good as another's. Of course we have types 
and descriptions of men of that day and age, 
and can you visualize the man that lived a per- 
fect life, the Lamb slain without blemish, hav- 
ing anything other than a kind intelligent face? 
Approximately 1800 hours was consumed in 
drawing, designing, studying the Bible, carv- 
ing, and completing this work which should 
last for centuries to come. 

The bust carving of General Robert E. Lee 
is approximately two by two and one-half feet 
in size. This carving was reproduced in mem- 
ory of both of my grandfathers who were old 
Confederate soldiers, and to honor the few re- 
maining soldiers of the South, who will soon 
all be gone; and to assist in perpetuating the 
memory of one of the noblest soldiers and 
Christian characters that the world has ever 
produced. It has been said that Lee was a 
Washington without his victory, a Napoleon 
without his Waterloo, and a Lincoln without 
his reward. Governor Rivers of Georgia in 
proclaiming a state holiday January 19, in ob- 
servance of the birthday of General Robert E. 
Lee, has paid a worthy tribute to the life and 
memory of one of America's greatest and best 
loved sons. He was a Christian gentleman of 
indomitable courage, of unswerving faith in 
God; self-effacing, possessing unusual poise 
and self control, exemplary in character, lov- 



58 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

able and loved* He became the idol of the 
South and its guiding star through the dark 
and troublous days of War Between the States. 
His example will ever stand as the symbol of 
all that is noble and best in life, and history 
will continue to accord him a place of ascend- 
ency in the honor roll of the great. In his 
memoirs was written this quotation which in 
substance comes from the Bible: 'In His own 
good time He will relieve us, and make all 
things work together for our own good, if we 
give Him our love and place in Him our trust/' 
This quotation might be called a rule or guide 
that he lived by. And there is no doubt but 
that history is according him a place among 
the greatest of the great. 

The story of The Last Sapper is a very inter- 
esting one, and the painting of Leonardo da 
Vinci has been called a world-famous master- 
piece. Millions in the past have viewed this 
painting on the plaster wall of the refectory of 
Santa Maria della Gracie, Milan, Italy. But 
unfortunately this great picture was painted by 
Leonardo da Vinci on the plaster wall of a 
little church up which the moisture has been 
creeping through the ages, causing this lovely 
picture to gradually fade away, and peel off. 
Every ruler since Napoleon has attempted to 
restore it, until no part of the original painting 
exists today; it is no longer the work of the 
great Leonardo. Our motive in reproducing 
this famous event on leather is twofold. One 
is the everlasting qualities of good leather. It 
will last indefinitely, and be here for future 
generations to see, to be inspired by, and to en- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 59 

joy just exactly like it is now sculptured and 
carved upon the leather Second, I wished to 
use the material that played an important part 
in bringing the Bible through the Dark Ages 
down to the translation by good King James. 
Before this time most of it had been written 
in Hebrew upon scrolls or parchments of 
leather, since the Lord in his wisdom must have 
known before man that it would last through- 
out the ages. Leather was found in King Tut's 
tomb in a good state of preservation. We also 
read in Hurlbut's story of the Bible where wise 
and good King Josiah's men were at work re- 
pairing the Temple on Mount Mariah, remov- 
ing the rubbish to make the house of the Lord 
pure once more, when they found an old book 
written upon scrolls of leather. It was taken 
to the king immediately and found to be the 
Law as given by Moses that had been lost or 
hidden so long that the people had forgotten 
it. And the good king commanded that all his 
subjects once more abide by the law. This 
book also contained the Ten Commandments, 
which our law of the land is based upon. Of 
course we all know there is no actual picture or 
photograph of The Last Sapper in existence, 
for when it occurred photography was un- 
known. The artist has read the Bible through 
and has spent some five years in Bible research, 
studying, designing, and carving this picture 
true to historical facts and conditions, based 
upon Bible research; and he has wrought from 
tradition and historical descriptions the types 
of men and objects of that time and age. The 
entire picture has to be seen in the mind's eye 



60 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

of the artist's imagination* By declaring his 
body and blood to be the spiritual food and 
drink of mankind and thus instituting the 
Sacrament of the Holy Communion, Jesus as- 
serted his true divinity. 

The carving of The Last Sapper is intended 
to portray a scene of movement or intense 
emotion, for Christ has just made the statement 
that "One of you shall betray me/' Each 
figure vibrates and lives its own emotional 
character; all the Apostles are profoundly mov- 
ed. Judas in his agitation has tipped over the 
salt celler, providing us with an explanation of 
our own superstition about spilling salt. Jesus 
alone is calm and unmoved. In my carving the 
characters are approximately one-half life size. 
In many pictures of The Last Supper the char- 
acters have no sandals on their feet. Christ lived 
under the old Mosaic law until he was crucified 
and the Temple was rent in twain. Under this 
law all shoes or sandals were left at the door on 
entering any kind of a room or place of wor- 
ship. The Lord even commanded Moses to re- 
move his shoes when approaching the burning 
bush, stating: "Thou art on holy ground/' 
Tradition and history both tell us that people 
of that day and age ate reclining on couches. It 
is only natural to presume there would have 
been some couches in the room were thirteen 
men had assembled to participate in this supper. 
So I carved a couch, along with a water jug, 
and some garments strewn across a bench. I 
also made an extensive study of each individual 
character as to age, habits, and occupation 
all of which leave a very noticeable mark on a 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 61 

man's face over a period of time. Does a hard 
criminal have a kind, soft face like a Christian 
character? A doctor will have a face with cer- 
tain markings that a lawyer's does not have. 
The doctor sees more pain and suffering than 
the lawyer. In other words, the occupation or 
profession, combined with the thoughts of 
the mind and the kind of life the man or in- 
dividual lives, all have a bearing and leave their 
markings on the individual's face. The occupa- 
tion helps to mould the character of the man. 
Studying The Last Sapper from left to right 
one finds: (1) Bartholomew Sincere and 
honest. He shows his surprise by jumping to his 
feet. He was a quick-tempered man. He has the 
expression on his face of, "Master, surely you 
don't think that I would betray you!" Prob- 
ably this thought was in no one's mind except 
that of Judas. (2) James the Lesser Youth- 
ful and slightly bearded, he was a brother of 
Christ. It is only natural to assume there 
should be some family resemblance, for Mary, 
the Mother of Jesus, was also the Mother of 
James the Lesser. (3) Andrew He is shrink- 
ing from the Judas whom he suspects. Andrew 
was an old man at the time of The Last Supper. 
He was also the older brother of Peter. He 
was a strong, rugged man. (4) Judas Isolat- 
ed in the foreground, he has just spilled the salt. 
He has those selfish, pinched features which 
would indicate that he would betray his own 
brother and he did far worse, for he betrayed 
the Son of man. He was the treasurer of the 
Apostles, and no doubt he loved money too 
much for his own good. The Bible says, ". . . 



62 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

woe unto that man by whom the Son of 
man is betrayed! it had been good for that man 
if he had not been born/' (5) Peter He is 
rugged and inquiring. He was one of Christ's 
outstanding apostles and loved the Master; but 
still he denied him and then wept over his weak- 
nesses, which Christ had foretold. At the end 
of his life Peter was crucified, and he asked to 
be placed on the cross with his head down as he 
was not worthy of being crucified like the 
Christ. (6) John, the Beloved Disciple The 
Bible tells us he was Christ's favorite. He was 
a fine looking man and near Christ's own age. 
His face was smooth; since the art of shaving 
was known in the Bible times. John and 
James the Greater were brothers; so it looks 
like Christ and his twelve disciples were one 
large family as almost one half of them were 
related. The center figure is of the Christ 
who has turned his head to talk with James the 
Greater who was a man that went right to point 
on any question that came up. It would be 
natural for him to get Christ's attention at 
once. More thought and time was spent on 
this one carving of the Christ than all the others 
put together. And I feel like it would be use- 
less for me to make any attempt to describe 
this Man who gave His life as the Lamb with- 
out blemish, and shed His blood on Calvary for 
the remission of sin throughout the world, 
that every man who believed in Him might not 
perish but have eternal life. (7) Thomas He 
was rugged and ever doubting. On Christ's 
ressurrection when he was told what had hap- 
pened, he stated he would not believe it unless 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 63 

he could thrust his hand into His side. He 
would not believe that Christ had risen from 
the dead. (8) James the Greater Horrified 
at the accusation, he was a man that went right 
to the point on any question; so it looks reason- 
able to suppose he would have Christ's atten- 
tion immediately, asking Him questions about 
the statement He had just made. (9) Philip 
He gently offers himself to his master. He was 
a young man; so it would not be unreasonable 
to think of him as clean-faced and handsome. 
(10) Thaddeus He is also questioning. He 
was old and quite naturally hurt to think some- 
one of the twelve would stoop so low as to be- 
tray his kind and loving Savior. (11) Matthew 
He asks Simon if he has heard this charge. 
Matthew was a lawyer, and evidently had a 
bright mind. He is discussing the statement 
that has just been made with his fellow Apostle 
Simon, asking him questions as a lawyer would. 
(12) Simon With raised head, he expresses 
amazement, and in typical Jewish fashion, he 
is using his hands to express his emotions, as 
if to say, "Well, it's not I." 

On the table are carved various articles of 
food that were common in that day and age. In 
front of Christ, you will find a small repro- 
duction of the great Chalice or Holy Grail of 
Antioch. This container is intended to hold a 
small amount of wine for each person present, 
something like a quart. It was carved out of 
silver, and had thirteen characters carved upon 
it. It was unearthed in the ruins of Antioch. 
Some authorities try to connect it with the Last 
Supper, owing to the fact that there are thir- 



64 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

teen characters carved upon the Chalice, These 
have been magnified many times and brought 
down until they resemble, to some extent the 
men of that time and age. I had this book of 
the thirteen magnified characters on this Chal- 
ice; about the time I had finished my sketch 
of the thirteen characters, drawn and sketched 
according to my interpretation of how I 
thought they should look, my good friend who 
is now deceased, W. A* Jackson, professor of 
history at the Texas Technological College in 
Lubbock, saw my sketch and we discussed it 
for several hours before I had completed the 
carving. This man had lectured on the Holy 
Grail some twenty-five or thirty times and had 
made an extensive study of it. It was his sug- 
gestion that I make no changes in my sketch. 
It was also his opinion, as well as my own, that 
there is no history, Bible or other kind, that 
would connect this Chalice with actually hav- 
ing been used at The Last Supper. It is pos- 
sible, but in all probability it was not used. 
Professor Jackson saw my completed leather 
carving just one week before he passed on. He 
admired it very much, and said that it was as 
nearly correct as anything he had ever seen, 
based upon the customs and events of the Bible. 
I don't make the assertion that it is perfect; that 
statement no living man for many past centur- 
ies could truthfully make. The Last Supper 
has been reproduced many times by various ar- 
tists, the most famous of whom is Leonardo 
da Vinci. It has also been reproduced in stained 
glass by a lady in Europe, a Miss Moretti, who 
is one of the last of her family of stained art 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 65 

glass workers* This reproduction is now in 
Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, Cali- 
fornia. 

A brief story of the famous painter or man 
of many talents, Leonardo da Vinci reads like 
fiction, and should be of interest to any art 
lover. He was born in the village of Vinci be- 
tween Piza and Florence, in 1452, and died in 
1519. His portraits and madonnas are found 
in the leading art galleries of Europe. His 
masterpiece, The Last Supper, was painted on 
the wall of the refectory, or dining room, of a 
convent in Milan. Christ and his disciples are 
shown sitting at a table as described by Luke 
xxii. This enormous fresco, considered by 
many the greatest painting produced in all Italy, 
has suffered shameful treatment. In 1652 the 
Dominican monks desired to enlarge the refec- 
tory doorway. They cut off the legs of the 
figure of Christ and the nearest disciples. Dur- 
ing the Napoleonic wars, French Hussars used 
the refectory as a store room for horse fodder. 
Tourists, too, at one time were carelessly allow- 
ed to dig out bits of plaster, and carry them 
away as souvenirs. Water stains and patch- 
ing have helped to ruin the picture; but for the 
past hundred years every effort has been made 
to preserve this great work. Fortunately a 
great number of copies have been made. One 
artist devoted six years to the work. Leonardo's 
talent is summed up by saying that he taught 
Michelangelo force, Raphael beauty, and other 
artists grace. Leonardo was not only a great 
artist, but he was a leader in other departments 
of thought. He has been called a man of many 



66 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

talents. His knowledge was almost supernatur- 
al. Long before Bacon he laid down the maxim 
that experience and observation must be the 
foundation of all reasoning in science, that ex- 
periment is the only interpreter of nature and 
is essential to the ascertainment of laws. Un- 
like Bacon who was ignorant of mathematics 
and even disregarded it, he points out the su- 
preme advantages in this branch of learning. 
Seven years after the voyage of Columbus, this 
great man, great as an artist, mathematician, 
engineer, and architect, gave a clear exposition 
of the theory of force obliquely applied on a 
lever. A few years later he was well acquainted 
with the earth's annual motion. He knew the 
laws of friction and the principles of virtual 
velocities. He described the camera, understood 
aerial perspective, the nature of colored shad- 
ows, the use of the iris, and the effects of the 
duration of visible impressions on the eye. He 
wrote well on fortifications and anticipated 
Castelli on hydraulics. He occupied himself 
with the fall of bodies on the hypothesis of the 
earth's rotation. Some of his books treated of 
the times of descent along inclined planes and 
circular arcs, and of the nature of machines. He 
considered, with singular clearness, respiration 
and combustion, and foreshadowed one of the 
great hypotheses of geology, the elevation of 
continents. But with all of his talents and vir- 
tues, history and tradition tell us that the great 
Leonardo was negligent in finishing anything 
he had started. Perhaps a man with as many 
talents as he possessed was very busy and had 
so many things of importance on his mind that 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 67 

he found it hard to spare the time to complete 
various undertakings. In painting The Last 
Sapper, he would leave the work and be doing 
something else, and was an unusually long time 
in completing it, with the officials of the church 
becoming impatient. Finally when it was all 
completed except the faces of Christ and Peter, 
he became so annoyed and vexed that he paint- 
ed for the face of Peter one of the church of- 
ficials that had been annoying him so much, 
and another church official's face was used for 
Christ. AH of this goes to prove that one man's 
conception of how Christ and his disciples 
looked is as good as another's, provided the 
artist bases his conception on how men in Bible 
days looked, and upon the types and history of 
that day and age. Leonardo da Vinci was a 
tall, strong, handsome man, and kind-hearted. 
History tells us that on one occasion he went 
into a store and bought a cage of birds and went 
outside and turned them all loose. A group of 
young men saw this act and laughed at him. 
He walked over to where they were standing 
and picked up a horse shoe that happened to 
be in his path and straightened it out with his 
bare hands. The boys wasted no time in 
scattering. 

These leather carvings of mine represent over 
one hundred years of development in the South- 
west, from the time the Indians hunted the 
buffalo with bow and arrow, down to modern 
transportation by the airplane. Many others, 
including The Last Supper and The Christ, 
were conceived from that Book of Books, 
which if you will read and study with an open 



68 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

mind, you will believe and will receive an un- 
derstanding that will justly be due you, for 
this is promised in His Word. Leather has last- 
ed six thousand years in the past. May these 
carvings which have been carved and sculptur- 
ed, all by hand, on the best of leather obtain- 
able, last six thousand years more, if the Lord 
in His wisdom sees fit to let the world stand 
that long. This medium and oldest commod- 
ity known to man was used in many instances 
by the old prophets in foretelling the things 
that have happened in the past and the things 
that are still to come in the future. Other 
mediums have been found less expensive than 
leather to transfer man's thoughts upon, but 
let us not forget the part it played in bringing 
the Bible or Word of God down to the mod- 
ern translation by good King James of Eng- 
land. Last but not least, the Ten Command- 
ments on which all our laws are based directly 
or indirectly, were written upon leather and at 
one time were hidden away in the Temple; 
and good King Josiah's men unearthed them 
while clearing away the rubbish. They had 
been lost so long the people had forgotten the 
law. I know the Bible says Moses wrote on 
tablets of stone also, but did he not become 
vexed at the weakness or idolatry of his people 
and break those tablets of stone? 

BUILDING AT THE CLOSE OF DAY 

An old man going along the highway, 
Came at evening, cold and gray, 
To a chasm vast and deep and wide, 
The old man crossed in the twilight dim, 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 69 

The swollen stream had no fear for him, 
But he turned when safe on the other side, 
And built a bridge to span the tide. 

"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near, 

"You are wasting your strength with building here; 

Your journey will end with the ending day, 

You never again will pass this way; 

You've crossed the chasm deep and wide, 

Why build this bridge at evening tide?" 

The builder lifted his old gray head, 
"Good friend, in the path I have trod," he said: 
"There follows after me today 
A youth whose feet must pass this way. 
The chasm that has been naught to me, 
He too must cross in the twilight dim- 
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him." 

Author Unknown 



THE ART OF CARVING 



Carving is the oldest form of art known to 
mankind. The first records we have of the ex- 
istence of the human race are carved on stone 
cliffs and the walls of canyons and caves. Crude 
as they are, these primitive designs reveal the 
first glimmerings of light or the faculty to 
reason. They transfer his thoughts and give 
expression to the soul of the Neanderthal man. 
In the same way, carving has left an everlasting 
and indelible record of the progress of the 
human race since the first sharpened stone 
chisel, which was perhaps made from the bone 
of some animal and used to gouge a design of 
some figure on the walls of a primitive cavern 
home. And practically all races of people have 
left traces of their handicraft in some form or 
another, some very crude, and some showing a 
great deal of skill and patience, considering the 
instruments they had to work with. Draw- 
ings tell of man's knowledge of animals and 
various objects of his particular time and age, 
When we take into consideration the tools or 
instruments these primitive men used who did 
the carving, they showed a great deal of knowl- 
edge, skill, and patience in accomplishing the 
tasks that they set forth to do. 

70 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 71 

Carving has been rightly called a branch of 
sculptural work from which it is distinguished 
by the use of softer materials, such as ivory, 
wood, and leather. A walking stick with a 
carved ivory head was an indispensable part of 
a gentleman's equipment in Babylonian times. 
The Greeks employed carved ivory in the con- 
struction of their statues and colossal gods. 
The remains of the early Christian art, whether 
in ivory or wood, were richly carved. The 
finest specimens of wood carvings, however, 
are found in the altar work, pews, chairs, tables, 
doors, and halls of the medieval churches, and 
in the homes of merchants, princeses, and 
rich aristocratic families. Many European 
towns, such as Prague, Nuremberg, Ravenna, 
Augsburg, Antwerp, and the cathedral towns 
and cities of the Hanseatic League, all have 
richly hand-carved woodwork. Oak carv- 
ing predominates in stairways, halls, and 
pews, and altar work. Of all old English 
homes and churches Westminster Abbey is 
said to possess some of the finest carvings in 
wood, both medieval and modern. Germany 
has always excelled in this branch of art. The 
Black Forest regions still maintain an enviable 
reputation for carved woodwork of artistic 
merit to this day. They produce wooden toys 
and parlor and hall ornaments for clock work. 
Our manual training schools of America seem 
to be creating a revived interest in wood carv- 
ings of today. Our own American Indians 
have left some very artistic carvings in the great 
Southwest. They carved upon the sandstone 
ledges of bluffs, canyon walls, caves, and var- 



72 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

ious other places where the figures have been 
protected from the elements of time. Their 
carvings come down to us of today in a good 
state of preservation. In Alaska and north- 
western Canada, you have a good example of 
the Indian carvings on totem-poles, usually 
made of wood on which their totems are carv- 
ed natural objects usually of animals or birds 
assumed as the token or emblem of the clan or 
family. A representation of the totem serves 
to designate the members of the clan just as 
emblems are used by the members of various 
fraternial orders of today. The totem of some 
Indian tribes was pricked in the skin, some- 
what like tattooing of today. It was some- 
times found on the clothing they wore, on 
weapons of war or the hunt, or on the domestic 
utensils they used. In a way, the figure of the 
tribe or clan totem is an idol. It is regarded 
with reverence by the Indians and is supposed 
to keep out evil spirits, or sickness and disease 
which the Indians dread. The city of Seattle, 
Washington, has a totem-pole erected as an 
ornament or emblem of honor to the North- 
western Indian. The poet, Longfellow, speaks 
of totem-posts in his famous poem Hiawatha, 

"And they painted on the grave-posts 
Each his own ancestrial, totem, 
Each the symbol of his household; 
Figures of the bear and reindeer, 
Of the turtle, cranes, and beaver, 
Each inverted as a token 
That the owner was departed." 

I read in the paper a few months ago where 
an Indian from a noted tribe in the Hudson 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 73 

Bay country said, while visiting in the United 
States, that Hitler with his German Nazi 
"Swastika" emblem had copied it from his 
tribe, as it had been a tribal emblem of his race 
of people as far back as they had any records. 
The old saying that "there is nothing new 
under the sun" still holds good. So our own 
American Indians have a family coat-of-arms, 
or tribal crest, so to speak, and they used them 
in tribal ways and customs as we used ours in 
the days of long ago in England, and now use 
them on our stationery or over the doors of 
our homes. 

Many of the carvings in the Southwest, on 
caves and cliffs, represent the Indian in war 
and also in times of peace, drouth, famine, and 
plenty. They also show him returning victor- 
ious from battle, or in defeat. A terripan sig- 
nifies buried treasure, a crude outlined horse 
promises loot for thieves. These carvings were 
something like the Chinese letters in his alpha- 
bet; they represent a word or sentence. The In- 
dian is short on words and long on signs, even 
when talking with you. One of these carvings 
on a cliff would be a whole book, so to speak, 
covering a period of time as represented by sea- 
sons or many moons; as this is the Indian calen- 
dar or way of recording time. A scientific de- 
partment of the Texas Technological College, 
recently moved a large rock from a cliff in the 
Guadalupe Mountains in Culberson County, 
Texas, that has a well preserved carving in the 
Indian sign language that is perhaps many cen- 
turies old. Some of our American Indians 
were highly skilled in hieroglyphics or picture 



74 HISTORIC *L CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

writing* Some beautiful examples of this 
kind of work can be found on the Concho 
River bluff near Paint Rock, Texas. This 
place derived its name from these Indian pic- 
ture paintings which are well preserved to this 
day. The Ojibway Indians made picture- 
writings of their ceremonial songs. The first 
hieroglyphics pictorial writing were liter- 
ally sacred carvings or writings. 

This name was first applied to the symbolic 
writings of the ancient Egyptians. It consisted 
largely of pictures of animals, plants, and other 
objects, from the inscriptions on timbers, tombs, 
and such things. Over one thousand charac- 
ters have been made out. These pictures were 
used as we use our letters and words. The 
Egyptian hieroglyphics were either left in bold 
relief by cutting away the surrounding mater- 
ials which in some instances were carved by 
sinking below the surface and leaving the object 
to stand out, or else they were traced or paint- 
ed with a reed-pen. Black ink was made from 
bone charcoal Red mineral ink was also used. 
The Egyptians, when writing, made the ani- 
mals and representations to face toward the 
beginning of the sentence so that the reader 
would meet them face to face. They were 
placed together very neatly so as to cover a 
space almost as evenly as print. In many in- 
stances, it took several hundred pictures to 
represent words ideographs, they are called. 
For instance, the picture of the dog meant dog. 
A woman beating a tambourine, meant joy. A 
picture of a jackal meant either a jackal or cun- 
ning, according to the sense of the sentence. A 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 75 

bird wading in water indicated fishing. A 
precious stone of any sort was indicated by a 
circle or ring. Walking was indicated by two 
legs. 

There was another method or system of 
spelling by sound in which many pictures were 
used to illustrate the sound or pronunciation 
of the word. The two methods were com- 
bined freely so that a sentence may be partly 
pictorial and partly spelled by the signs of 
sounds. Egyptian scholars later wrote more of 
a running hand in which the original pictures 
were recognizable. In this connection, it may 
be said that some of the letters in our own 
alphabet were originally the pictures of animals, 
birds, and other things. Who knows but what 
this was the origin of the method that we use 
in writing ^ longhand of today? The language 
of the writers of these queer characters was 
spoken until the middle of the eighteenth cen- 
tury by the Copts, a people of Egyptian descent. 
The Aztec people of old Mexico, when Cortez 
arrived, had a well developed system of hiero- 
glyphics or picture-writing. 

Another beautiful example of Egyptian 
carving is the Rosetta Stone which has parallel 
inscriptions in three languages. Hieroglyphic, 
domestic characters, and Greek, all of which 
are engraved on a slab of black basalt. It was 
discovered in 1799 near Rosetta, Egypt, by a 
French engineer of Napoleon's army who was 
engaged in excavating the foundation of a for- 
tification. Three years later, it was secured by 
the British Museum and became the subject of 
study. It is about three and one-half feet long 



76 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

and two and one-half feet wide, and a foot 
thick. For centuries, scholars had been striv- 
ing to read the hieroglyphics of Egypt, but they 
were unable to get a start. The Greek text of 
the Rosetta Stone was easily read. It proved 
to be a lengthy inscription in honor of one of 
the Alexandrian Ptolemies, under the date of 
March 27, 196 B. C A French scholar sur- 
mised that the hieroglyphic inscription was a 
duplicate of the Greek. This shrewd guess 
proved to be true and the Greek inscription 
served as a dictionary for the other, much to 
the delight of those versed in the antiquities of 
Egypt. The substance of the inscription is a 
resolution of thanks passed by a synod of 
Egyptian priests in session at Memphis. Many 
beautiful Egyptian hieroglyphic carvings in 
stone were found in King Tut's tomb. Also 
many articles of leather. 

The art of carving reached its zenith in the 
magnificent examples of Grecian sculpture 
work which are still in existence to reveal to 
us the culture and glory that once belonged to 
Greece in the days of the Iliad and the Odessey. 
Though the earliest form of carving was done 
in stone, and rarest marble sculpture, it all per- 
petuates the record of the glorious onward 
march of man and civilization. According to 
traditions, Rome was founded by Romulus 
753 B. C. It was built on seven hills spoken 
of in the Book of Revelations. Probably some 
of the most noted carvings in the world are on 
the numerous buildings and arches of the polit- 
ical and commercial centers of imperial Rome. 
The Colosseum or Roman Forum is one of the 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 77 

most famous. Its real name is Flavian Amphi- 
theater and it was started by the Emperor Ves- 
pasian and completed by his son, Titus, in 80 
A. D. and remains today as one of the architec- 
tural wonders of the world* These carved stone 
historical buildings saw the life and death of 
Caesar, The Arch of Constantine is one of 
the best preserved of the Roman triumphal 
arches, with figures carved in bold relief. It 
was completed in 312 A. D., to commemorate 
the Battle of Saxa Rubra by which the triumph 
of Christianity was assured. Mark Anthony's 
rostrum has some remains of beautiful carvings 
and sculpture work of animals in stone such as 
the sheep and bull that were symbols of pagan 
sacrifices, and these are carved in bas-relief. 
History tells us this rostrum was where Mark 
Anthony made his famous address over the 
body of Caesar. The Arch of Septimlus Ser- 
verus built in 203 A. D., commemorating the 
victorious campaigns of Serverus against the 
Parthians, has battle scenes carved in bas- 
relief on the arch. Figures on this arch are not 
so well preserved and no doubt the workman- 
ship was of inferior quality as compared with 
some of the others. 

Many mediums of expression have been 
freely used by sculptors and carvers of modern 
times. But to the dyed-in-the-wool Texan, 
there is only one medium that surpasses all 
others, not only in appropriateness, but in ar- 
tistic expression as well "The hide of a Texas 
Steer/' Leather has been used for centuries as 
a favorite medium for carving rare pieces of 
artistry, both for human use and adornment* 



78 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

We have countless beautiful examples of 
Moorish art leather work and Mexican and In- 
dian craftsmanship in leather, dating back to 
the days of the Aztecs* These primitive In- 
dians were in Mexico when Cortez invaded that 
country in 1519, some 420 years ago when it 
was ruled by Montezuma, The Spaniards were 
much surprised to find a people so advanced. 
They could see the advancement in the work on 
their temples and palaces, which is in a fine 
state of preservation today. They were highly 
skilled in carving objects and various designs 
on stone. Their work would compare with 
much of the modern stone masonry or sculp- 
tured pieces of today. They were very adept in 
carving animals and birds in stone. Some of 
their designs carved into stone have some re- 
semblance to what is called "set stamp work" 
done on many western cowboy saddles. To do 
this work, you have a design carved into the 
instrument that resembles the work and it can 
be transferred to the leather by hitting the in- 
strument when the leather has been prepared 
for such work, which I will describe more 
thoroughly later on in this chapter. 

History also advises us that the old Moors 
who overran Spain left many traces of their 
art in carvings or handicraft in that country. 
The rich or aristocratic families had their walls 
adorned with fine leather carvings, as well as 
wood carvings in some instances. Hand carved 
leather was more commonly used to portray 
various designs just as you or I would have a 
room papered with a certain design that suited 
our fancy. No doubt various designs were 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 79 

carved upon the leather to represent certain 
families or clans of that day and age. No doubt, 
they had the family crest or coat-of-arms as 
we know it today. 

I want to call the reader's attention to the 
fact that the Spaniards brought the art of 
leather carving to old Mexico, so it can be 
rightfully called "a lost art reclaimed/' or a 
revival of an old lost art; for it was brought 
into Mexico only twenty-seven years after 
Columbus discovered America on October 12, 
1492. The Mexicans have been skilled crafts- 
men in what the saddle industry calls raised- 
flower stamp work for many years, that has 
been so universally used on almost all saddles 
produced in the Great Southwest. No doubt 
but what they brought the art into Texas when 
this state was part of old Mexico, or an inde- 
pendent state under the lone star. 

The actual date this work was first done in 
Texas or the United States is purely a guess. 
Recently, I talked with an old Spanish- Ameri- 
can War Veteran who had been stationed in 
Porto Rico for sometime, which is now an 
American possession but at one time belonged 
to Spain. He said practically all of the old 
buildings in the larger cities had richly carved 
stone work in which the stone masons had 
chiseled out the stone and left vine-work with 
various flower designs that were almost identi- 
cal in design with those of the raised-flower 
stamp work on western cowboy saddles of to- 
day. I have been told you would also find this 
kind of stone work throughout the West India 
Islands, and also in Manila, the capital of the 



80 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

Philippine Islands. These islands were Spanish 
possessions before Spain relinquished them to 
the United States. So it looks reasonable or 
logical to believe that the set stamp work on 
our western cowboy saddles came down to us 
from designs worked out by the Aztecs. I 
don't say all of it is exactly like their designs, 
for we have worked out many more and car- 
ried the idea further than they did. No doubt, 
our raised-flower stamp work with the tangled 
vine effect which is so universally used on the 
better grade of western cowboy saddles of to- 
day, comes to us from the Spaniards. Leather 
workers have taken the art and revived it, 
working out far more artistic designs and pat- 
terns than were ever used in the old art of stone 
masonry. 

So far as we know, credit will have to go to 
the old Moors for originating the art of carv- 
ing designs in raised-flower stamp work on 
leather. No doubt credit should go to them 
collectively as a race of people that used leather 
extensively in their everyday life and trades. 
No doubt they were the first people that ex- 
perimented with leather and learned that you 
could put designs or objects upon leather when 
it was in a certain stage, and these designs would 
remain throughout the life of the leather. 

There have been some fine Mexican leather 
workers or men of Spanish decent in this day 
and time that were fine raised- flower stamp 
men. One of them was Garsea who worked 
for S. D. Myres of El Paso. Another was Sa- 
vantee. Such men as Johnny Ratton who 
along with S. D. Myres built the famous 101 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 81 

saddle which I will later give a more accurate 
description of. A man named Dudley did as 
fine raised stamp work in the past as I have 
ever seen. A. L. Bettes of Lubbock, Texas, is 
considered one of the finest all-around saddle 
makers in the trade. It is to men and American 
workmen, of this type that I want to pay a 
tribute. They have brought the art of leather 
stamping up to a finer perfection than any of 
the old stamping I have seen. In the past I 
have seen the work of many raised-flower stamp 
men. Practically all of these men are natural 
born artists and picked the work up from their 
fellow workers. Through determination and 
preserverance they have mastered and perfected 
an art which will be a credit to their posterity. 
There have been no books heretofore writ- 
ten on the art of leather carving, describing just 
how to go about doing this work. There have 
been no schools or colleges for them to take a 
study course in the art of leather carving; they 
have been their own teachers. Some schools 
and colleges have made an effort to teach what 
is known as "hand- tooling leather," which is 
far different from hand-carving or hand stamp- 
ing leather. In doing this work the pupil is 
taught to take a damp piece of leather usually 
"stamping calf or leather seldom heavier than 
calf or sheep skin. They take a tool or instru- 
ment and push or mash the object or design 
into the leather, using plenty of ground work 
to make the design stand out, which shows the 
object more readily that they want to bring 
forth on the leather. They do not cut into the 
surface of the leather with a cutting knife to 



82 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

outline the design, or use a mallet to beat or 
pound into the surface of the leather the design* 
The art of hand-stamping or hand-carving of 
leather must not be confused with hand-tooling 
of leather which I have just described. 

Another form of placing the designs on 
leather is known as embossing which is done 
by plates, or machinery that has an etching of 
some design or letter they wish to imitate. The 
design they wish to transfer to the leather is 
placed on the plate. This work is usually done 
with heated metal rollers that are engraved 
with patterns. Owing to the peculiar construc- 
tion of the surface of leather which comes from 
cattle, it is more universally used for this pur- 
pose than all other leathers combined. The art 
of embossing by leather manufacturers is so 
perfected that they can imitate various other 
leathers so perfectly that it takes a leather ex- 
pert to tell them from the original leather. 

The writer will endeavor to give the reader 
a brief description of how stamping and hand- 
carving is placed upon leather. You have been 
given heretofore a brief outline of the art of 
carving throughout the ages on various mater- 
ials. I contend that carving is a combination of 
art and sculpture work, for both principles are 
involved in completing the work. A man has 
to be an artist to design and arrange his vine 
and raised-flower stamp work in an artistic 
manner with symmetrical curves that have the 
proper proportions and uniform arrangements 
in order to bring out the work in a pleasing, 
artistic manner. He beats down his back- 
ground and makes the work stand out just like 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 83 

the sculptor chisels out what he does not need, 
and lets his work stand out to represent the 
object or design he wishes to make* Carving 
on leather, is more difficult work than paint- 
ing for the simple reason that an artist can paint 
out his mistakes or go back over them and cor- 
rect them. jA leather carver cannot do this* 
If his instrument slips, and he cuts or makes a 
lick with the mallet where it should not be, it is 
there to stay, and stands out like a sore thumb 
tied up with a white rag* There is no way of 
erasing the mistakes or working them out so 
they will not be noticed all of which tends 
to make the leather carver more or less nervous* 
I have talked with old stamp men who said if 
they stamped all day without doing some other 
work in between times to relieve the tension on 
their nerves, that they would get so nervous 
they wanted to scream or pull their hair, or 
throw their instruments down and run, or do 
almost anything to relieve the wrought up con- 
dition that the nervous system gradually gets 
into when stamping over a long period of time* 
This accounts for the reason that many good 
stamp men will get to drinking more than they 
should to relieve the tension* Many fine Mexi- 
can stamp men are dope fiends* 

Old stamp men will tell you a story of a fine 
Mexican stamp man in El Paso who was asked 
by his employer to design and carve a steer* s 
head on the fender of a fine saddle* He made 
several attempts to design the head to his lik- 
ing and finally threw down his instruments 
and said, "Me see no steer's head/' and walked 
out of the shop* He came back in about an 



84 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

hour all "hopped" up and as happy as you 
please, and went to his work bench and said 
immediately, "Me sees steer's head now/' and 
proceeded to design a beautiful head of a Texas 
steer, for the saddle. 

A fine architect has to see his building in his 
mind's eye before he ever draws a line or per- 
fects the picture of the building, as plain as you 
can see the building after it has been finished 
by the builders* I have found this to be true 
in the carvings that I have designed; I study 
until the completed picture is perfected in my 
mind before I ever start to draw the picture; 
then I work to bring the drawing up to the 
picture that I have in my mind. This is often 
hard for me to accomplish but I keep plugging 
away at it until I get the desired effect or draw- 
ing just like I think it should look before I 
ever attempt to reproduce it on the leather* I 
was around thirty-nine years of age before I 
ever made a serious effort to draw any kind of 
an animal or person, or designs of any kind. 
I always knew that I could draw but never 
seemed to find time to do any art work, or the 
occasion never arose where I needed to do it. I 
have never been to an art school, or had one 
moment's instruction from an art teacher. In 
rural schools when I was a boy, they never 
taught drawing or manual arts. I have never 
had any instructions through the mail on art. 
I draw an object like I think it should look; 
if it is not up to my standard I rub it out and 
draw it over, keeping this up until it looks like 
it should to me. No doubt, if I had been in- 
structed by a competent teacher when a lad, I 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 85 

could draw an object far more easily now. Yet 
I have been told by many ardent horsemen that 
my proportions of horses are far better than 
those of many commercial artists that had been 
painting for ten years or more. I think the 
secret of any good artist's work is for him to 
know all of the bones and muscles or anat- 
omy of the subject he wishes to reproduce. 

In medical school we make a thorough study 
of the human body including all bones and 
muscles. Some of the finest artists, the world 
has ever produced, have been doctors. They 
know the human body down to its minute de- 
tails. That is the secret of their success as 
artists. I was reared on a horse, having petted 
and pampered them, treating their cuts and 
bruises when a boy; also I have spent many 
long hours in the saddle which has familiarized 
me with the anatomy of the horse. The draft 
horse I have plowed; the trotting horse I have 
driven; the saddle horse I have ridden and 
worked on the cow range. Cow work brings 
out and develops muscles that are seldom used 
by horses in other lines of work. 

Taking into consideration the time in life 
that I started this work should be sufficient 
evidence for any young man that it is never 
too late in life to start doing anything that you 
have a desire to do. You never know what 
you can do until you try. In carving The Last 
Supper if I had ever given it a second thought 
as to the undertaking that was before me in go- 
ing over each square inch of leather three and 
four times all by hand on a carving five by ten 



86 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

feet square, I would have given it up before I 
ever started. 

In drawing or carving, the smallest details 
are of the utmost importance. Those little 
things are the difference between a masterpiece 
and a crude piece of work after it is finished, 
A house painter could take his brush and make 
a crude outline of each of the thirteen char- 
acters in The Last Supper, so you could per- 
haps distinguish what he had started out to do. 
It has been my experience to contact many men 
and boys that rush through their work just 
any old way to get it off of their minds never 
taking the time or pains to do their work right, 
I can truthfully say that I have never made a 
denture, or finished any fine piece of work, 
that I did not think I could go back and make 
it over and do it just a little bit better. My 
mother always taught me that anything worth 
doing at all is worth doing the very best you 
can. 

If any young man will start life in his allot- 
ed task by doing his work to the best of his 
ability every day, he is sure to advance and im- 
prove in his chosen work regardless of what it 
may be, so long as he still takes pride in his 
work. If you do not enjoy your work or can't 
create an interest in it, by all means change your 
work, for no one can be a success at something 
he does not like. If I have made any success 
of my life's work, it is due to the fact that I 
learned this lesson early in life, for if you are 
really and truly interested in your work re- 
gardless of what it may be, it is really not work. 
It is a pleasure that affords you one of the 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 87 

greatest joys that you receive from life* I can 
get deeply interested in a carving and forget 
that I am hungry or sleepy. I have worked on 
several of them twenty-four hours without 
stopping. You become so interested in the 
work you can't seem to find a stopping place. 
No human has worked his eyes any harder than 
I have mine. No doubt my work has weaken- 
ed them to some extent, as they have to be 
focused down to such a small area which is un- 
usually hard on anyone's eyes. Work will 
help you to forget the heartaches and sorrows 
that come into every human's life as you are 
tossed back and forth on life's stormy seas. All 
of which helps to build character or goes to the 
other extreme; it all depends on the kind of 
fiber you are made of, just like different kinds 
of leather are made of various kinds of fiber; 
some weak and some strong. 

It takes much hammering to produce fine 
steel; it takes plenty of trouble and work to 
produce a fine character. The Bible tells us 
that man shall earn his bread by the sweat of 
his brow. Some people are fine character ac- 
tors; some can play a violin and some can sing 
or work at a new invention; people do dif- 
ferent things to satisfy their emotional desires. 
I could learn law, medicine and dentistry all 
combined more easily than I could learn to play 
the violin. However, the violin produces a feel- 
ing or emotion within me that is indescribable. 
I have always had a desire to play some kind of 
musical instrument. Science tell us that the 
desire of the father is often manifested in his 
child. Perhaps this is so, for my daughter 



88 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

Merthel seems to have an unusual musical talent 
which time alone will develop. My hands are 
small and dexterous and by working with them 
I seem to be able to work off the thoughts and 
feelings within me somewhat like the musician 
works his soul into his music. But my talents 
are not musically inclined. They go more to 
the mechanical. 

I am never more content or happy than when 
I am making something new or different. In 
my designing or carving, I have never had the 
desire to reproduce the same piece of work 
twice. A new idea or carving that has never 
been produced is constantly in my mind. I 
might say in producing the many carvings that 
I have made to date in order to make borders 
and designs different and to produce vine- 
work, I have made with a small vice and fine 
file, and by using my dental burs, something 
like one hundred various designs in instruments 
that I use in producing a carving. Most of 
these instruments were made from broken den- 
tal instruments: nails, bolts, or bits of steel that 
came handy. My astrologer tells me that I 
could have made a great success in the inventive 
world; perhaps so, I was born under the same 
sign as Thomas A. Edison, but I have accom- 
plished many things with leather that the 
leather experts did not know could be done. 
So perhaps that is what my Creator intended 
for me to do. So far as I have been able to 
find out, no one heretofore using instruments 
of his own creation and with nothing but them 
and his hands has brought out the personality 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 89 

and expression of the human character on 
leather to where you can recognize it instantly. 

If there are defects in a carving of a particular 
human being, when placed on leather, the 
camera will find it. I have been told by some 
of Will Rogers' closest friends that he never 
had a picture made of him in his life that looks 
any more natural than the carving I have re- 
produced on leather. It is a life-size carving of 
the famous humorist. Yet I never had the 
pleasure of seeing Will Rogers in life. I studied 
his actions and movements in his many moving 
pictures and reproduced the carving like the 
impression his image on the screen made on my 
mind. I might say that I have always admired 
him and was a close reader of all of his humor 
and most human remarks about all humanity. 
Will was perhaps more talented with his tongue 
than I am with my hands, for he literally talk- 
ed himself into the hearts of all humanity. His 
talking was quite profitable, to say the least. 

My work in carvings will be invaluable to 
future generations. Whether it reimburses me 
in a material way during my lifetime remains 
to be seen. Many people have said to me, "Dr. 
Maddox, how do you do this work?" If you 
should ask me how to practice dentistry it 
would be almost as easily answered, for it takes 
a great deal of thought, time, and study to be- 
come efficient in producing a large historical 
carving. Just how I bring out a facial expres- 
sion is part of my trade secret, but I will en- 
deavor to give you a description of the art of 
stamping and hand-carving of leather. 

If you have the patience and desire connect- 



90 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

ed with the talent and ability, determination, 
and perseverance, to stick with it long enough, 
you can perhaps become as efficient as I have 
in this work, or perhaps more so. This will 
all depend on your talent and determination to 
carry through, regardless of the set-backs and 
discouragements you may encounter. All can 
be overcome if you have the talent and stability 
to stick at it. 

Hand-carving in the hands of an expert on 
good leather will increase the wearing qualities 
of the leather at least fifty per cent. This state- 
ment is backed up by many years of observa- 
tion and experience on my part and statements 
from men who have been in the leather busi- 
ness for a half century or more. You can take 
an inferior piece of f lanky leather; wet it and 
stretch it out, and rub all of the wrinkles from 
it; then hand-stamp it with a good design; it 
improves both the appearance and texture, and 
even strengthens the leather to a great extent. 
Leather that is made from cattle has a solid 
criss-crossed body or base that is more or less 
solid. On top of this is the grain or hair-side 
of the leather, or finished side after tanning 
which is composed of a fine network of mi- 
nute fibers running in every direction. On 
heavy saddle leather made from a fully matur- 
ed steer, the leather is around one-fourth of an 
inch thick. In some places of the hide, it will 
run over this thickness and in some places 
slightly less. The thicker the cowhide the 
deeper you can cut and stamp the design or your 
stamp work. In collar, skirting, or strap leather, 
it will average just about one-half the thick- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 91 

ness of saddle leather, or approximately one- 
eighth of an inch thick. The trade world uses 
it mostly in what is called six and eight ounce 
thickness or weight. In stamping calf, it will 
average just about one-half the thickness of the 
collar or strap leather, or approximately one- 
sixteenth of an inch in thickness. These three 
different grades of leather are the most univer- 
sally used in hand-carved stamp work. The 
thicker your leather is, the deeper you can cut 
the surface without going into the body or 
main base of the leather. On the thickest of 
saddle leather, I think you can safely cut the 
surface close to one-eighth of an inch without 
injuring the base. By wetting your leather 
thoroughly, the surface that is composed of 
these fine fibers raises or swells to some extent. 
On the collar or strap leather, you could per- 
haps cut it close to one-sixteenth of an inch, 
and on stamping calf, you would cut it just 
one-half of this distance or one-thirty-second 
of an inch. 

It takes a very steady hand with a delicate 
sense of touch to cut stamping calf the right 
depth, for if you go too deep, you have ruined 
the leather, or too shallow your stamping does 
not show up well. However, it is just as adapt- 
able to your stamping tools as the thicker 
leathers, the only difference being that you can- 
not make your work stand out as much or beat 
your ground work down as low. In carving 
leathers of all grades, it should be cut or de- 
signed while wet, for then the cracks or cuts in 
the leather will dry open and your work can 
be more easily finished, and it will look more 



92 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

artistic. The secret of turning out a fine piece 
of stamp work is in knowing the exact time to 
start working on it, in pounding in your de- 
signs, and doing your ground work. If you 
start the work too quickly, it will be spongy 
and your stamping will bounce back on you 
and will not stay down where it should. It 
will also discolor the leather, and produce a 
coarse, dingy product when worked too wet. 
It will never look as well as it should, but will 
have a dead looking appearance no life. If 
you wait too long, the leather will become too 
dry and hard for your stamping to be done to 
the best advantage. 

A wooden mallet made of some hard woods 
such as hickory is the best kind of a mallet to 
use in stamping. The weight depends on the 
thickness of the leather you are working upon. 
A cutting knife is so made that you can hook 
your forefinger over a swivel and turn the knife 
in any direction you want to cut. In this way, 
you can cut a circle or curve which a good crafts- 
man always does, especially in vine work. You 
take your thumb and other three fingers and 
turn the knife to cut the outline of the design 
or flower you wish to create. The leather you 
are carving should always be cut uniform, not 
deep one place and shallow another. You will 
develop a delicate sense of touch in time. 

All good dentists have a delicate or light 
sense of touch developed to a high degree more 
or less. In fact, the term "painless dentistry' ' 
is more in the operator than in any other thing. 
A good operator in dentistry always has some 
of his fingers or his thumb resting on some par- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 93 

ticular tooth at all times. This acts as a safety 
in case his hand should slip. A good leather 
operator will find this same precaution neces- 
sary to perform delicate work, for if your hand 
slips, you have not caused the leather any pain, 
but you have ruined that particular piece. If 
it happens to be a carving, you have lost many 
months ^ of hard work. This is why leather 
carving is so tiring, for you get so self-conscious 
with the thought continually on your mind of 
caution at every move, that it finally makes the 
operator very nervous. 

The ground work is usually made by a small 
instrument with several small holes in it. You 
stamp down all the leather but your vine and 
flower-work. This makes your work stand 
out and is known as the background. Many 
people think it is burned into the leather, but 
this is a mistaken idea* Nothing is done that 
will injure the wearing or lasting qualities of 
the leather. In many instances, the background 
is dyed black which makes the stamping or 
carving stand out more readily. If you wish 
to dye the background, this should be done be- 
fore you oil or grease the leather, in order for 
the dye to penetrate the pores of the leather* 
Caution at all times is necessary in dying the 
background for if this dye gets onto the stamp- 
ing, or vine work, it is just too bad, for it is 
there to stay. A small camel's hair brush is 
best to dye your background with. Instead 
of painting the ground work, you merely 
touch or dob it and let the dye run or spread all 
over the parts you wish to dye; and have 
no fear for the ground work will absorb it 



94 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

as readily as sand absorbs water* In stamp- 
ing thick leathers, like saddle leather, a harder 
blow is required than on thinner leathers, and 
so on down, to stamping calf which requires a 
light uniform tap of the mallet to produce the 
best results* A well stamped or carved piece 
of leather will have the outline of your work or 
carving showing through on the flesh or re- 
verse side* In fact, on many of my carvings, 
you can recognize the characters I made by 
looking at the flesh side of the leather. 

But in no instance should there be a cut or 
mark of any nature showing through on the 
flesh side* This is where caution is required 
never to cut too deep, but just deep enough for 
each particular thickness of leather* This can 
be acquired by plenty of practice and study of 
leather* You know the old adage, "Practice 
makes perfect" can be wisely used by the be- 
ginner* 

I remember watching an old boot-maker 
stretching a vamp of kangaroo leather over a 
last to make a pair of boots* I asked him how 
much he stretched the leather, and he replied 
that he stretched it until it was just ready to 
tear, then he quit just before it tore, and then 
he tacked it down* It takes experience and 
knowledge of your work to do all fine mechan- 
ical or art work* The better you know your 
product and develop that sixth sense of knowl- 
edge or delicate sense of touch, the more effic- 
ient you will become* By the skill shown in 
your work you will be known as a fine work- 
man or a poor one* The world is full of poor 
workmen who do their work just any way to 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 95 

get by, with the pay check in mind only. This 
will apply to many trades exclusive of leather 
workers* 

In wetting your leather or preparing it for 
carving, you will find that it will dry much 
faster in dry, windy weather, when there is no 
moisture in the atmosphere. When it is rain- 
ing and the atmosphere is laden with moisture, 
the process of drying is much slower. I have 
found that you can produce a finer piece of 
stamping in damp weather than you can in ex- 
tremely dry weather. The surface seems to 
puff or stand out more readily and it is more 
adaptable to the working tools of a skilled 
craftsman. 

I have also found that each piece of leather is 
just a little different from every other piece, or 
it has a personality, so to speak. No two human 
beings are alike and neither are any two hides. 
I imagine the condition of the animal at the 
time it is butchered, or the different breeds of 
cattle produce just a little difference in all cat- 
tle leathers. However, the general character- 
istics of all cattle leathers are practically the 
same. This difference is not enough to be hard- 
ly noticeable. If you want your finished stamp- 
ing or carving to look its best, the leather, when 
not being used, should be kept covered up with 
a woolen blanket or sheepskin, or be kept in a 
drawer away from the free circulation of air. 
In this manner, it will dry and retain its orig- 
inal luster. Never lay the leather in the sun 
to dry or place close to heat of any kind. A 
good stamp man will soon acquire all of these 
precautions in turning out fine work. 



96 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

To do this, the leather worker needs to ac- 
quire skill and knowledge of it and give it his 
individual attention, just as the original hide 
requires individual attention in the tannery. 
One hide of a particular texture will take more 
tanning solution than another hide; while to 
the inexperienced workmen they both would 
look practically the same. When leather is 
wet and dry enough to be in % vhat is known 
as the best stamping stage, it is very sensitive 
to any kind of a scratch or cut. Almost any- 
thing with any weight laid upon it will leave 
an impression on it, or any kind of a cloth with 
dyes will go into the surface of the leather and 
be hard to remove. Diluted oxolic acid can be 
used to remove pencil marks or grease spots or 
various stains that may occur on the surface of 
the leather, but it is not advisable to use this 
acid to remove spots unless it becomes absolute- 
ly necessary, as it will leave a slight discolora- 
tion on the leather. 

To stamp properly a piece of leather, it will 
be necessary for you to have a stamping block 
made of a thick piece of smooth stone or metal, 
usually built into a wooden frame that will 
give some when a blow is delivered to the 
leather, in reproducing your design* In set- 
stamp work, where you are using an instrument 
that you wish to produce a particular kind of 
border for your work, you will find it neces- 
sary to strike the instrument a harder blow to 
produce the desired effect. This is more par- 
ticularly true of saddle work, for the leather is 
thicker, and for this purpose a mallet is usually 
used which is made of rawhide around a metal 




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HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 97 

core that has been loaded with shot to produce 
weight. Many set-stamp saddles are produced 
in the Southwest. This is the kind of stamping 
that in design has some resemblance to the stone 
work of the Aztec Indians of old Mexico on 
their temples and palaces. 

The writer has designed and made . some- 
thing like one hundred instruments with a vice 
and file, using the dental engine with fine steel 
burs to cut grooves and holes into the surface 
of the instrument to be transferred upon the 
surface of the leather. In doing this work, it is 
necessary to have your leather just right, neither 
too wet nor too dry, to produce the best results. 
Owing to the unusual sensitiveness of leather it 
is well for the beginner to first draw or perfect 
all of his drawings or designs on some fairly 
strong paper, such as heavy brown wrapping 
paper. You can then erase and redraw the vine- 
work or any designs you wish to create until 
you get them perfected to suit your taste. You 
can then lay this paper with the perfected de- 
sign over the wet leather and retrace all of your 
drawings onto the leather, being careful at all 
times to not let the paper slip. It is not a bad 
idea to tack the paper down on the corners with 
small thumb tacks. In this manner it will not 
slip. Be sure to put the tacks on the extreme 
edges, for they will stain the leather to some 
extent. 

If you wish to do raised-flower stamp work, 
in drawing your designs, work out flowers, 
twigs, and leaves that suit your fancy, drawing 
them on the paper; and remember the more 
tangled your vine work is, the better it will 



98 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

look. Remember also, that the vine should be 
carried along with your work, remembering at 
all times, your work will look better in cur- 
vitures and circles in both the general outline of 
the main vine as well as in the smallest part of 
your work* A good rule to go by is never to 
cut a straight line, but let the twigs or branch- 
es extend off from both sides of your main 
vine, with a large flower placed at intervals 
with the stem of the flower always attached to 
the vine or main design you want to use 
throughout your work* Old stamp men usually 
work out several flowers or designs to their lik- 
ing and then cut them out of leather to be used 
as patterns* Instead of drawing the designs first 
on paper they just take this flower and lay it on 
the wet leather to be stamped, tapping it light- 
ly with a small flat hammer which leaves an 
outline* Then they arrange the vine work in 
symmetrical order around the flowers connect- 
ing them all together* But it takes years of 
experience to do this and unless you are a nat- 
ural born artist I would not advise any begin- 
ner to even attempt this last method in produc- 
ing a design* 

In case you want to have a steer's head, or 
horse's head, in a scroll or somewhere on your 
stamping, it is best to select a place about the 
middle and put some kind of a carved border 
around your work* This will give it a more 
artistic setting* Another thing to remember, 
is, that the profile or side view of an animal or 
person is all that can be brought out on leather 
to any satisfaction* If leather were a foot 
thick, you could probably mold the front view 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 99 

of a horse's head or human's face to the point 
where you could recognize the human instantly, 
but this is not the case, owing to the fact that 
the thickest of stamping leather is only around 
one-fourth of an inch down to one-sixteenth of 
an inch in thickness. 

Many people have asked me why raised- 
flower stamp work is not done by machinery* 
The answer is, that there are so many different 
ways and kinds of flower-work that you can 
carve into a saddle or bag, that it would neces- 
sitate large steel dyes to do all the work and 
this would cost a fortune. Then it could not 
be made to look like real hand- work, for there 
is no doubt but what a skilled craftsman in 
almost any kind of hand-work can turn out a 
product that is far superior in artistic beauty 
than the product of any kind of a machine. Es- 
pecially is this true of saddle work, for so many 
different styles of saddles and sizes of trees are 
used. In fitting the seat, they are all just a lit- 
tle different in size, even when using the same 
size tree; and that would make it necessary to 
have hundreds of designs of the same pattern to 
fit all saddles; and with orders coming in for 
some high and some low cantles; some swell, 
some medium forks; some saddle seats to fit 
fat men and some to fit lean; some for short- 
legged men and long legged men; and each man 
with a different idea of the particular kind of 
a saddle he needs to suit his fancy, it is almost 
out of the question to have any one set of dyes 
or patterns to fit all saddles. So the saddle of the 
Southwest the real cowboy saddle is still 
principally a skilled, hand-made product. Styles 



100 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

and makes of saddles vary as much as the in- 
dividual, leather-faced hard riding cowboy's 
taste of a working saddle, that is ornamented 
with sterling silver and precious jewels* Prices 
of these saddles vary from one hundred dollars 
for a good raised-flower stamp job with no 
ornamental work to as high as you want to 
pay. 

Many readers may not be familiar with the 
cowboy saddle, so the following is a brief des- 
cription of the present-day cowboy saddle and 
names of the different parts used in its con- 
struction; also sizes compared with saddles of 
thirty and forty years ago. First, you must 
have a foundation to build your saddle on. 
This is known as the saddle tree and must be 
good if you expect to have a good saddle, for 
nothing is good without a solid foundation. 
The best cowboy saddle trees are made out of 
white pine covered with bull rawhide. Some 
trees are made of hardwoods but they are 
heavier and sometimes warped which makes a 
poor saddle. The strongest horn is the iron 
horn built into the tree and covered with raw- 
hide. Then it is covered with leather when 
saddle is completed. Some horns are made of 
German Silver which also have a base that fits 
down into the tree. They are not considered as 
strong for roping or heavy work* The front 
of the saddle is called the fork or pommel. On 
a modern saddle it will average nine inches in 
height and around thirteen inches in swell. Sad- 
dle fronts of thirty and forty years ago averag- 
ed ten to twelve inches in height and from fif- 
teen to twenty inches of width or swell. The 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER l 

average size saddle seat of today is around four- 
teen inches. The back of seat is called cantle. 
On saddles of today it will average around 
three inches in height. Years ago, they were 
from four to six inches in height. The sides of 
a saddle are called skirts, which, on the old style 
saddles made years ago, were square and would 
almost cover a small cowpony. On modern 
saddles, they have rounded the corners and les- 
sened the sides or skirts considerably* The 
reader might not think that saddle styles 
change, but they do and have, in my lifetime. 
The fender or sweat-leather that swings off 
each side of the saddle, which the stirrup is fit 
into, also protects your clothing from the 
horse's side. They vary in shape according to 
the purchaser's taste. Stirrups years ago were 
made of iron; today practically all stirrups are 
made of hardwood and covered with leather. 
Cowboys in a brushy country usually have 
what is known as tapaderos, or taps, placed on 
the stirrups to protect their boots. Mexicans 
are strong for these tapaderos, which is a Span- 
ish word. Practically all saddle-skirts are lined 
with sheep-skin with the wool part next to the 
horse. The saddle is tied and sewed together 
with saddle strings running through leather 
rosettes or buttons or conchas that can be made 
of sterling silver or gold. The saddle strings 
are usually left long, in order to tie various ar- 
ticles on to the saddle; such things as a slicker 
or rope. The saddle is fastened on the horse 
with two girts or cinches usually made of mo- 
hair of the Angora goat. The cinch is fasten- 
ed to the saddle and girted tight around the 



102 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

horse with a tie strap or latigo. Like the cow- 
man or cowboys of early days, the modern cow- 
boy prizes his saddle above everything else* You 
have heard the old song about a ten dollar horse 
and a forty dollar saddle. It is nothing un- 
usual for the saddle to cost more than the cow- 
horse, even today. It takes a good, strong, 
well-built saddle to hold a full grown steer or 
bull. If it were not for this well-built saddle, 
it would be impossible for the cowboy of to- 
day to perform the rough and many times dan- 
gerous work of the cattle ranges of today. That 
is why the saddle is so important to the Wes- 
terner, quite apart from the fact that it is a 
heritage of the ages handed down to us from 
the mail-clad conquistadores to the trimly- 
booted and spurred leather-faced horsemen of 
the modern Southwest of today. You are, no 
doubt, aware of the fact that the well-trained 
cow-horse and saddle are indispensable to the 
cowboy. 

There was a day when the horse was king, 
and he is still king in this modern age when 
there is real cow work to do on a western ranch. 
A king of England once said on Bosworth 
Field, "My kingdom for a horse/' I doubt if 
there are enthusiastic horsemen of today who 
stop to realize the important part or influence 
the horse and his equipment or working togs 
have exercised on the history of the world, 
from the earliest recordings of history down 
to these modern times. It's doubtful if but a 
small minority of horsemen of today have any 
idea of the antiquity of the accessories of the 
art and showmanship of the horse in saddlery, 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 103 

from the earliest times down to the present. 
Some noted historians tell us that Bellerophon 
was the first to ride a horse. When horses 
were first ridden, neighboring tribes thought 
both the horse and man were one animaL 

Some authorities tell us that Pelethronius of 
Thessaly, was the inventor of bridles and sad- 
dles. However, a Greek legend gives credit for 
the introduction of the bridle to the goddess 
Athena who enabled Bellerophon to master or 
control the winged horse, Pegasus, so that he 
could accomplish better the feats the King of 
Lycia required of him.. The first saddles were 
little more than a cushion or pad, perhaps a 
blanket placed between the horse and rider. 
Something like a century before the Christian 
era a light wooden framed saddle was used by 
the Romans, perhaps in their cavalry, as they 
were constantly at war. Several centuries later, 
the armor-clad Norman Knights adopted a sad- 
dle made of wood, with high pommels and 
cantles. No doubt these saddles were designed 
from the deep saddles evolved by the Nomadic 
pastoral tribes that roamed the Asiatic steppes. 
This is probably where the wooden tree of to- 
day, which is covered with rawhide, had its 
origin. From this crude beginning, an idea 
originated from the Norman Knights of old, 
there came to horse lovers and craftsmen the 
saddle trades or guilds, with their ideas present- 
ed to them from service and necessity. They 
have slowly but constantly improved the sad- 
dle, until we have the wooden framed rawhide 
covered tree for a foundation* It is then cov- 
ered with leather that is a masterpiece of art as 



104 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

well as durability and is used throughout all of 
our western rangeland. 

When William, the Conqueror, who was a 
Norman, invaded England, there were differ- 
ent crafts that supplied the mail-clad knights of 
chivalry with equipment. They were organiz- 
ed into Guilds with headquarters in the City of 
London, and were under the direct control of 
the King of England. Of all these Guilds in 
operation, the Saddlers Guild claims the dis- 
tinction of being the oldest. They produced a 
document which is still in existence, dated in 
1 1 54, to back this claim. The Saddlers Guild 
received their first royal charter from the crown 
in 1272 when King Edward the First was rul- 
ing; and from that date until the introduction 
of the hackney cab and stagecoach, they were 
one of the most powerful and wealthiest Guilds 
in the world. Tradition tells us they enjoyed 
many special privileges granted by the King. 

In Westminster Abbey among many fine 
wood carvings, you will find one of the first 
old English saddles made by this Guild. It 
hangs over the tomb of Henry V. The saddle 
tree is made of oak and was originally covered 
with blue velvet, all embroidered with gold. 
This bears out my contention that perhaps the 
first saddles were covered with cloth or almost 
any substance available. Experience perhaps 
taught them that leather was more practical. 

All of these old saddles were built with a 
swelled front, which is typical of the modern 
cowboy saddle of today. However, the swell 
was narrow and high, and not as rounded as 
the present-day cowboy saddle. It was also 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 105 

minus a horn that would resemble our modern 
saddle horn. It would seem that the swell of 
the old English knight's saddle was designed 
for the sole purpose of keeping the rider from 
pitching over the horse's head when he stopped 
quickly. The war type saddle of these early 
days was designed in a manner that would re- 
semble our western saddles to some extent. 

In the days of chivalry of long ago t the 
knights and ladies were not content to ride on 
plain leather saddles. They had them richly 
embroidered, carved, guilded, and inlaid with 
silver and gold. They even went so far as to 
have them studded with gems and precious 
stones. Tradition tells us this was where Colo- 
nel Joe C. Miller of the famous 101 Ranch in 
Oklahoma got his idea of having the most ex- 
pensive saddle in the world made. The back 
of the old English cantle was high and resemb- 
led a chair back to some extent, like our first 
automobiles had high wheels resembling a bug- 
gy; the front or fork was extremely high. These 
high fronts and cantles were the favorite field 
for the display of the saddle maker's art. It was 
about this period of development in saddles that 
the sidesaddle for ladies was first introduced 
by Queen Anne, the wife of Richard II. 

But the sidesaddle never became universally 
used until years later when adopted by Queen 
Elizabeth; then it spread to all parts of the 
world except the Far East. When my own 
mother was a girl, she said most of her suitors 
had an extra horse and sidesaddle. This was 
the way they attended their social functions. 
We find that when stagecoaches and carriages 



106 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

were first introduced into England, the Sad- 
dlers Guild viewed this new, modern develop- 
ment with alarm and appealed to the King to 
issue a decree to forbid the use of such contriv- 
ances* Later, they went so far as to have their 
lawyers draft a bill which was introduced into 
Parliament, asking that all stagecoaches and 
passenger vehicles be abolished on the grounds 
that they infringed upon their rights or charter 
previously granted by the King* Thus, the 
futility of trades trying to stop progress* This 
continues in a way down to modern times* It 
was during these times that apprentices from 
the Saddlers Guild emigrated to Spain, France, 
and Russia* So they were the first saddle 
pioneers who no doubt became dissatisfied with 
the modern things of that day and age* 

The horse certainly has his place in any new 
country* These men took new ideas with them 
and made new improvements in the saddle and 
horse equipment of their adopted countries. 
We find that through the introduction of gun- 
powder there was another step forward in the 
use of plate armor, with the exception of the 
cuirass* Its helmet and back piece went out of 
date* This lead to several progressive changes 
in style, shape, and weight of the European 
war saddle, which now began to gradually as- 
sume the shape of our modern Mexican saddle 
in use today* Our western saddle makers have 
gradually improved on this type down to the 
present* 

History also tells us that the first saddle 
brought over to the new world by the Spanish 
conquistadotes or followers of Cortez, when 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

he invaded old Mexico in 15 19, were of the war 
saddle types used by the armor-wearing knights. 
But shortly after this time, radical changes in 
the Spanish saddle took place. When the old 
Spanish Dons first started cattle ranching^ in 
northern Mexico, local conditions and ^neces- 
sities of cattle work lead to a modification of 
the old Andalusian saddles which finally evolv- 
ed into two distinct types or patterns. One of 
which has a thick neck and a large, flat horn. 
It was perhaps more in favor in California 
than in other Spanish or Mexican provinces of 
that time. Tradition tells us it was this saddle 
that drifted eastward over the Sierras and across 
the plains in the early day when the West was 
really a magic unknown country of adventure 
and romance* 

American saddle makers copied^it and from 
these early models the present various kinds of 
cowboy saddles of today have been evolved. 
These cater to the individual taste and likes of 
our modern cowboys, with many different 
kinds of trees and seats. Some with swell forks 
and some with low cantles. A well known sad- 
dle with extremely low fork and cantle is made 
on what is called the toper tree. It is easy for 
the cowboy to dismount quickly when he has 
roped an animal. A rider used to one particu- 
lar shaped tree, which has been made to his own 
taste and fancy, would be quite disturbed if he 
were suddenly placed in another saddle prefer- 
red by some other puncher. The writer s own 
personal saddle is made on a Ellinsburg tree, 
which might not suit some other cowboy. Many 



108 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

rodeo men have saddle trees, and special rigging 
named after them* 

The older type of Spanish saddle is a direct 
descendant of the old war type of saddle with 
the high, carved front, fashioned to ward off a 
blow or sword thrust and a lance aimed at the 
rider's body by the rival knight. In the new 
world, this front was not needed, and was low- 
ered gradually; it was altered and re-designed, 
until it became the broad, flat topped horn 
style of hull so popular today in Old Mexico. 
The hand-carved beautifully decorated saddle 
was a product of the old Moors from Algeria. 
The art found its way into Spain then to 
Mexico and later migrated into our own wes- 
tern cow country or cattle land. Beginning 
with the conqaistadores of Cortez, saddle lov- 
ers of Mexico and California took naturally to 
the most ornamental types of saddles. The 
American cattleman and his cowboys are now 
the successor of the Mexican vaqueros. They 
have inherited ma*iy of their tastes. Outstand- 
ing among these is the beautiful hand-carved 
raised-flower stamped saddle of today. Some 
cowboys have adopted the Spanish saddle with 
the large, broad horn smartly turned up in 
front. However, most cowboys are content 
with the plain, beautifully hand-carved leather 
saddle. But a wealthy Mexican rancher can 
and ^does often have his saddle covered with 
sterling silver, gold, and mother-of-pearl trap- 
pings, from the jewel incrusted cantle down to 
the gold and silver mounted stirrups. Some of 
our own noted cowmen and showmen have en- 
deavored to outdo anything in the past in the 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 109 

way of hand-carved saddles. Theirs were often 
trimmed with sterling silver, gold, and precious 
stones set in elaborate designs and craftsman- 
ship of the highest order, that run the cost of 
construction on some of these saddles into thou- 
sands of dollars* 

The chewing gum magnet, P. 1C Wrigley, 
who owns an island ranch off the coast of 
California, has a silver mounted saddle with all 
the trimmings, that cost $5,250, Many famous 
moving picture stars have elaborate silver 
mounted saddles running into thousands of 
dollars. 

But it remained for one of our old time cow- 
men of the Southwest, Colonel Joe C Miller, 
of the famous 101 Ranch of Oklahoma to have 
one of the most elaborate saddles made in this 
day and age. It is considered among the world's 
finest. Mr. Miller, after having enlightened 
himself on saddle history back to the earliest 
times of the old Saddlers Guilds of England, 
decided to have one of the world's finest sad- 
dles made. As the great state of Texas has, be- 
yond any doubt, some of the finest saddle 
craftsmen in the world of today, S. D. Myres of 
Sweetwater, Texas (now of El Paso, Texas) , 
was granted the contract in 1914 to construct 
this famous saddle, at a total cost of ten thou- 
sand dollars. Into its construction went 166 
genuine diamonds, 120 sapphires, 17 rubies, 
4 garnets, and fifteen pounds of sterling silver 
and gold. The leather used in the construc- 
tion of this saddle was carefully and specially 
selected and placed upon a specially constructed 
saddle tree of the highest type genius could 



110 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

produce. No expense was spared to produce 
the highest quality of leather and materials 
throughout its entire construction. All leather 
work is hand-stamped or hand-carved in scroll 
effects and is so skillfully and artistically done 
that it has the soft even appearance of velvet, 
rather than the hard sharp-edged finish that 
often results from the stamper's tools. AH 
leather parts are hand-stamped* The fenders 
are finished in scroll effect with a typical 
4 'Texas Longhorn" steer's head in the center; 
while around the edges, butterflies are so per- 
fectly stamped that one scarcely needs to draw 
on his imagination to see them flutter off on 
their wings. The initials X C M. are stamped 
on the front of the cantle. All buckles, rings, 
and other metal parts are solid silver. The horn 
is of gun metal, handsomely chased and decor- 
ated with silver inlaid in colors. On the crown 
of the horn is a diamond brooch in horse head 
effect, in which are set seventy cut diamonds of 
rare beauty. Each of the four corners of the 
housing and jockeys is supported by a sterling 
silver wreath surrounding a five pointed star 
in the center of which is a handsome three carat 
garnet. The points of the star are studded 
with genuine cut diamonds with a one carat 
sapphire imbedded in the wreath at the points. 
Each corner of the four corners of the skirts is 
supported by a similar wreath of correspond- 
ing size. In the center of the wreaths on the 
skirts is a solid gold steer's head with genuine 
diamond eyes and ruby nostrils, and surround- 
ing the steer's head are five gold stars set with 
rubies and diamonds. The front and cantle 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER HI 

bindings are solid silver, handsomely engraved 
in wreath effects. The fork plates on the side 
of the swell are of solid sterling silver with the 
figure "101" inlaid in gold. Covering the en- 
tire back of the cantle is a solid shield of silver 
with the figure "101" in the center inlaid in 
gold In the center of the "O" in the "101" is 
a large solid gold five pointed star in the center 
of which is set a blood-red ruby, set off in bold 
relief by fifteen diamonds of proportionate size, 
gracefully arranged along the points of the star. 
The stirrups are covered with silver shields with 
a large rosette in the center at the top, where 
"101" again appears in gold. The writer has 
seen this famous saddle on a number of occas- 
ions and can vouch for its beauty and unusual- 
ness. Mr. Miller, who had this saddle made, 
has passed on to the last round-up, but this 
saddle will remain for future generations to 
admire and visualize the pomp and glory that 
went with the cowman of the old Southwest. 

A well constructed saddle will last through 
many years of hard service. In fact, I have 
seen shop-made saddles that have been in ser- 
vice on the range practically every day for a 
period of forty years or more, taking all kinds 
of weather as it comes. If a saddle will last 
that long, how long will the carvings I have 
constructed out of the finest leather obtain- 
able last if placed under glass where there is no 
air upon them? Many noted teachers have 
seen these carvings and have said that they 
would be invaluable to posterity. 

One of the hardest things I have had to con- 
tend with is describing these carvings to people 



112 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

that have never seen them. The work is in- 
describable; you have to see it with your own 
eyes to appreciate its value and enjoy its beauty. 
If you will allow me to say so, I am pioneer- 
ing in a new field in art or leather carvings. 
No one heretofore has ever attempted to bring 
out a facial expression carved upon a side of 
leather to where you can recognize the person 
instantly. If someone sees a fine painting by 
some unknown artist and tells you that it com- 
pares with some noted artist's work, you im- 
mediately get the idea that this man is worthy 
of recognition. The large carvings which I 
have produced or created should not be con- 
fused with saddle raised-flower stamp work. 
It is more on the order of sculpture work on 
leather; however, the same principle to some 
extent is involved in doing this work. I go a 
step farther and bring out an object or person- 
ality that will retain its shape and beauty for 
future generations to look upon and admire its 
beauty and artistic or mechanical skill in per- 
fecting it. 

My contention is that a fine artist or mech- 
anic has that certain something born or bred 
within him, and no amount of training will 
bring this talent out unless you are mechanic- 
ally or artistically inclined, for in doing this 
work, you must have a delicate sense of touch 
in nomenclature (use of instruments) . In ad- 
dition to that, you must be a good artist in 
order to bring out your proportions and make 
your designs symmetrical. You should also 
have a fair knowledge of the principles involv- 
ed in sculpture work. If you are to make ar- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

tides of use for your fellowman, you must be 
a good mechanic. Many young men have been 
educated in trades and professions which they 
are not suited for. ' 'Square pegs in round 
holes/' they would be more successful in some 
other occupation salesmen, or even plowing 
corn* In all raised-flower stamp work that I 
have seen, by many fine stamp men, it is all 
just a little different; each workman has a 
style or kind of work that differs from the 
other fellow's. You could perhaps describe it 
something like hand writing or personal signa- 
tures, which are never the same. This brings 
to my mind that passage of Scripture about 
men with different talents; some have more, 
some less. We are all held accountable for 
these talents; all of which strengthens my be- 
lief and admiration for my Creator who created 
man in His own image. But in the millions of 
human beings, there are no two exactly alike, 
either in disposition, talents, personality, or 
looks. If you will look close enough, even in 
twins, you can learn to tell them apart almost 
as far as you can see them. The writer had 
twin sisters no one could tell apart, except the 
immediate family. 

No two of us see things exactly alike, which 
reminds me of the story of the old fellow that 
got up in church and said he was glad that all 
men did not see alike, for if they did, they 
would all want his wife. This got under an- 
other old fellow's skin and he jumped up and 
said that he thanked the Lord for this fact, 
also, for if all men were like him they would 
not have her. This fact of people not seeing 



114 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

things alike is manifested many times in wit- 
nessing an accident or murder triaL No two 
will tell the same story when placed upon the 
witness stand, which brings us back to your 
appreciation of beauty, or how or what you 
call beautiful It all depends upon how you 
look at art. Did you know that a painting of 
a mother and her two children valued at one 
million dollars was painted upon the lid of a 
wine barrel by Raphael? It was given in pay- 
ment for a twenty-five cent dinner check* The 
mother was the tavern keeper's daughter and 
her two children, yet some folks can look into 
the face of a baby and see no beauty there. The 
Duke of Brunswick, whose family can trace 
their ancestry back to Charlemagne, has a vase 
made of one single piece of onyx all beautifully 
decorated with fine, artistic hand-carvings, 
which is valued at three million dollars. So 
the value of almost anything depends upon the 
way you look at it. 

In conclusion, I will tell you this true story 
to illustrate my point. I was visiting my uncle 
last January in New Mexico. His youngest 
boy, who is around seven or eight years old, 
was watching me tie my necktie, and place a 
small diamond stick pin in it. He asked me 
what it was. I replied, "Dick, that is a dia- 
mond/' He said, "What is a diamond?" I re- 
plied that it is a precious stone worth lots of 
money. He wanted to know how much; and 
I told him over a hundred dollars. He gave a 
grunt of disgust and replied, "It's not worth a 
penny." No doubt, this boy would have ex- 
changed it for a five-cent chocolate bar, think- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 



ing he was making a good deal So the value 
of art, sculpture work, or leather carvings, all 
depends on the way you look at it. 

Training in manual skills should be encour- 
aged in our schools; the youngster will not need 
much encouragement, as we are born with a 
natural creative impulse. My advice to any 
young man is to spend some time in manual 
training, even if he intends to be a doctor, law- 
yer or preacher, for hand training is an essen- 
tial part of brain training; your brain worker 
will have more practical sense if he is a skilled 
workman with his hands. Brain training is 
likewise an essential part of hand training. The 
best men of today and the past are men who 
combine the learning of books with the actual 
experience of doing things with the hands. The 
father of our country was a hard working sur- 
veyor. Benjamin Franklin was a printer, also 
an inventor and one of the best electricians of 
his age* Abraham Lincoln split rails, and built 
and worked with flat boats. 

Skilled workmen are as much in demand to- 
day as in the past. America has advanced 
through the skill of her mechanics, for the geni- 
us of America depends upon production, and 
our American standard of living depends upon 
our skilled workmen. It is no disgrace to work 
with one's hands at any honest toil; it should 
be something to be proud of. In fact today we 
see too many so-called well-educated young 
men our schools are turning out who have all 
the theory in their heads, but do not know how 
to sit down at a bench and bring this theory 
into a reality with their hands. Many of these 



116 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

young men are unable to secure a job that will 
pay as well as the job of a skilled mechanic, who 
may have had very little book theory training. 
Medical research has proved in recent years 
that occupational therapy is a fine treatment 
for the nervous business executive, or college 
professor or society woman* The psychiatrist 
puts them to working with their hands weaving 
baskets or carving wood or making furniture. 
Possibly if these people had originally had a 
useful side-line involving manual skill the 
breakdown would never have occurred in the 
first place. Skilled labor with the hands, the 
ability to produce something, a thought or 
vision moulded into a reality gives a certain in- 
describable satisfaction, or sedative for the 
mind, so to speak, to the skilled workman. It 
drives away "the blues/' Henry Ford made his 
first car which was the foundation for one of 
the largest fortunes in America today. All of 
our modern machinery of this modern machine 
age has to be first designed and made by some 
skilled mechanic who has learned to utilize his 
two hands that God gave him. 



THE WILD STALLION OR HORSES IN 

GENERAL INCLUDING THE 

COW-HORSE. 



The horse has been one of man's truest 
friends and help-mates throughout the ages. 
His constant association with man has made 
him one of God's noblest and most intelligent 
creatures. There has been many heated dis- 
cussions about which was the most intelligent, 
the horse or the dog. Well, it would be hard 
for me to decide, for I love them both, and 
both of them have shown a loyalty and de- 
votion to man which is seldom duplicated ex- 
cept in a mother's heart. The encyclopedia 
tells us that the horse is a well known, domes- 
ticated wild animal, allied to the wild ass, the 
zebra, and quagga which was an animal some- 
thing like a horse, but more closely related to 
the zebra. It was formerly abundant in South 
Africa. Large droves roamed the plains of Kaf- 
firland. It was hunted by the natives for its 
flesh; and was the natural food of the lion. 
It is now believed to be extinct. 

The ass is supposed to be a native of Africa, 
possibly of Abyssinia, and is more closely akin 
to the zebra which is also a native of Africa and 

117 



118 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

is classified between the horse and the ass. The 
mule is a hybrid animal produced by a jackass 
and a mare. They may be of cither sex but do 
not ordinarily reproduce. The mule has been 
called the animal that man made. It has been 
truthfully said, "The mule is without pride of 
ancestry or hope of posterity." He favors his 
sire more than he does the dam; but the fact 
that the ass and horse will cross would indi- 
cate that they are of the same family, to some 
extent like cattle and buffalo. George Wash- 
ington was given two jacks by the King of 
Spain, thus introducing the first mules into the 
United States. Petrified bones of prehistoric 
horses have been found in the more recent geo- 
logical formations of every continent except 
Australia; but for some reason, the prehistoric 
American horse became extinct. The ancestry 
of our horse is not known positively, but it 
was probably a native of central Asia where 
two species of wild asses still exist. 

Our modern horses all come from the old 
world or Europe. The wild horses of South 
America and the southwestern part of the 
United States are descendants of horses brought 
over by the Spanish explorers and conquerors 
of Mexico. Cortez landed sixteen head of 
horses near Vera Cruz, Mexico, in 1515. Col- 
umbus brought horses over on his second voy- 
age to the West Indies, in the year 1527. The 
first horses were landed in that part of the 
United States now known as the State of 
Florida. In 1604 French horses were intro- 
duced in Arcadia. In 1609 English horses were 
landed at Jamestown. In 1623, Dutch horses 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER H9 

were brought to new Amsterdam. The New 
England colonists introduced horses in 1629* 
Among the European breeds to which the great 
Southwest is indebted are the Arabian and Barb, 
for they were agile and of riding stock. Our 
own Spanish mustangs were direct descendants 
of these horses. Inbreeding lessened them in 
stature, but they are tough as a boot, by nature. 
The horse has always had his place throughout 
history and ever been the servant of man. Since 
1870, horse-flesh has been a popular article of 
food in Paris. It sells for about half the price 
of beef. Horse hides make an excellent leather 
suitable for razor strops, shoe uppers, gloves, 
cowboy chaps, and many other articles of use. 
The Mongolians of Central Asia have a fer- 
mented liquor known as Koumiss which is made 
from mare's milk. It is a favorite intoxicating 
beverage in that country. Of all horses that 
possess the most intelligence, I am of the opin- 
ion that the Arabian horse has just a little edge 
on all other breeds. But he is treated like one 
of the family and is constantly associated with 
his master from birth until he leaves this world 
for pastures that will always be ripe with 
clover. 

A Toast to the Horse 

"Here's to that bundle of sentient nerves, 
with the heart of a woman, the eye of a gazelle, 
the courage of a gladiator, the strength of an 
ox, the docility of a slave, the proud carriage 
of a king, the blind obedience of a soldier; the 
companion of the desert, mountain or plain 
one that turns the moist furrows in the spring 



120 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

in order that all the world may have an abun- 
dant harvest; that furnishes the sport of kings; 
that with blazing eye and distended nostril 
fearlessly leads our greatest generals through 
carnage and renown; whose blood forms the 
ingredients that go to make the ink in which 
all history is written; and one who finally, in 
black trappings, pulls the proudest and the 
humblest of us to the newly sodden threshold 
of eternity/' 

Author Unknown 

The Arabian horse has one of the oldest 
ancestries of this noble animal Tradition 
hands us down a story of the Arabian horse. 
Mohammed was a great lover of horses, and 
wanted to produce a particular breed that would 
be fleet on foot and could withstand great hard- 
ships. But at the same time, he wanted horses 
with super-intelligence, that would obey his 
commands. So he selected a large group of 
choice mares and put them in a lot or inclosure 
not far from a running stream where they could 
see and smell this water. Then he fed the 
mares nothing but dry fodder until the third 
day and then turned them out almost famished 
for water. Quite naturally they all made a break 
for the water. He gave the command to halt on a 
trumpet and only five of the mares stopped. All 
true Arabian horses come from these five 
mares which obeyed his command. My young- 
est brother, Warner V. Maddox, who is now 
with the State Extension Service Department 
of Texas A. and M. College, had a classmate 
from Mesopotamia who lived in Bagdad. 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 121 

When he was attending Texas A. and M. Col- 
lege. This boy told my brother many interesting 
stories about horses. He was from an old aristo- 
cratic family that owned many horses and 
lands in the irrigated district of the two rivers, 
Tigris and Euphrates, that the Bible speaks of 
when explaining the diverting of the waters by 
the Medes and Persians. It was in this district 
that Nebuchadnezzar ruled, and where Daniel 
and others of the Hebrew children were taken 
to be placed in bondage. This boy tried to get 
my brother to visit him in Mesopotamia. He 
told him to come to Bagdad and anyone there 
could direct him to the House of Honn. He said 
they had many horses that were born and died 
in their possession. Money would not ^ U 7 
them; it would be just like trying to buy one 
of the children in the family. In fact, it was 
considered an insult for anyone to try to pur- 
chase some of their horses. These horses are 
known for their stamina as they are reared in 
a hot, dry, desert country. A horse absorbs 
into his general make-up and bones a certain 
amount of his surroundings, just as man does. 

Our own Kentucky thoroughbreds are raised 
in the Blue Grass region of Kentucky, where 
the soil is underlaid with limestone and is noted 
for producing good bones in a horse; bones 
which are essential for stamina and speed. Lime- 
stone soil produces good bones in cattle as well 
as horses. 

I know from my own experience that a cow- 
horse raised in the sand hills will have a wide 
iflat foot and walk or run way back on the frog 
or back part of his foot. At one time, I owned 



122 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

a small ranch in the Big Bend of Texas, an ex- 
tremely mountainous country where there are 
plenty of rocks. The mountain horses raised in 
that country will develop a long pointed foot 
not nearly so wide as the sand horse and will 
walk and run on their toes, so that the rocks 
will not hurt the frog or tender part of their 
feet. You can exchange locations with each 
of these horses after they are fully grown and 
they are practically worthless for cow work in 
the country where they are strangers. The 
mountain horse develops muscles that are al- 
most unbelievably strong. He can fox trot 
with a man and a forty-pound saddle on his 
back over ground so rough that the sand-reared 
horse can hardly walk on. In fact, it would 
be dangerous to attempt to ride the sand-reared 
horse in the mountains at all, for there would 
be danger of him falling and injuring himself, 
as well as the rider. I have ridden mountain 
horses down places which were so steep he 
would almost slide with all four of his feet ex- 
tended forward and his rump down within a 
foot of the ground. All he asks of you, is to 
give him his head and let him pick out the 
trail. He can find a better one than you, any 
day. Both game and horses will cut back and 
forth like the letter W up a long mountain. If 
you will follow this trail and take your time, 
you will hardly know you are climbing. To 
contrast this with going right straight up the 
mountain is ridiculous, but if you are inex- 
perienced in mountain climbing, you might 
think going straight up the mountain was the 
closest and easiest way to the top. It might be, 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 123 

but I will guarantee that you will reach the 
summit exhausted. By taking the course or 
trail the horse and game have worked out when 
unmolested on the range, you will reach the 
summit feeling like a different man, for on 
much of his cut-backs you are on a level path 
with a deep chasm or canyon on one side and a 
steep cliff on the other. 

The mule has far more caution than a horse; 
he will not take chances with himself, for he 
looks out for number one. The Grand Can- 
yon sightseeing companies use mules far more 
extensively than horses, for they will take care 
of themselves and in doing that they care for 
the tourist or sight-seer as well. I talked with 
an old Grand Canyon guide once who said that 
they had been asked the question so often about 
whether a mule would ever run or make a mis- 
step and fall off a bluff or cliff, that they de- 
cided to answer it for themselves. They picked 
an old mule that had been on the trail for 
years who had about served his usefulness, so 
several of the guides led him down the trail to 
a bluff and tried to run him off. They failed. 
Then, they tried to push him off. The mule 
finally sat down on his hind-quarters with all 
four feet extended out in front of him, push- 
ing back with all his might and bawled like a 
dying calf. They felt so sorry for him that 
they quit, in disgust. That mule knew the 
bottom of that cliff would be death for him. 
I have seen mules run away and go straight to- 
ward a high barbed wire fence, then turn at the; 
last second and never get a scratch. 

A horse gets so excited that he does not al- 



124 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

ways do this* However, I have seen some horses 
that used a great deal of discretion which will 
usually account for the long life in some of 
them. This horse sense could well be applied 
to many humans in their everyday life. I once 
owned a dun horse that was foaled in 1910. He 
was always fat and lived to be around twenty- 
five years of age. It is not uncommon for a 
horse to live seven times his maturity, and man 
could do this also if he observed the laws of 
nature. I am going to relate one incident that 
will give the reader an insight into the nature 
of this horse. 

One morning I went to the lot to feed the 
horses which had access to a certain pasture* 
I whistled a few times and they all came up im- 
mediately; all but this dun horse. He was 
young at this time being hardly three years old. 
I kept calling him and he would nicker and 
throw up his head, switching his tail every 
time I called; but he never moved an inch from 
where he was standing, which was down a 
fence row from the barn and next to the 
orchard. I fed the other horses and still he did 
not budge from where he was. I walked down 
to where he was standing and he had some 
loose barbed wire all tangled up around all 
four of his feet and legs. He whinnied softly 
when ^approached as if to say, "Boy, ain't I in 
a jam!" And he certainly was, I looked care- 
fully; he was not cut anywhere, not even a 
scratch where the blood would run. I started 
mashing the wire down, around one leg at a 
time; and when I got the wire pressed down 
around one foot, I would punch the leg with 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 125 

my thumb and he would hold his foot up until 
I had removed the wire; then I would take hold 
of his foot and set it down. I repeated this 
performance until I had removed the wire from 
all four of his feet, and still he did not move 
until I dragged the wire away and spoke to 
him; then he trotted on to the barn for his de- 
layed breakfast. This horse never had a blemish 
on him at twenty years of age, the last time 
that I saw him. His half sister was very 
high strung. She was only one year older than 
he, and she died from natural causes before 
reaching the age of seven. She came near to 
cutting off one of her forefeet in the wire while 
I was trying to stop her so that I could lift her 
foot out of it. There is a good lesson for human 
beings in this true horse story. 

When our forefathers came to the great 
Southwest, they found many herds of wild 
horses roaming the prairies and mountains as 
free as the air that they breathed. These horses 
were direct descendants from the first horses the 
early Spanish explorers allowed to escape. Our 
American Indians took to these horses just like 
ducks take to water. They were very bene- 
ficial to the Indian in hunting game such as the 
buffalo, and in making raids on white settle- 
ments. The redskins also used the horse in mak- 
ing war on other Indian tribes. The Indian paid 
little attention to breeding in his horses which 
resulted in a great deal of kinship for one gen- 
eration after another. This inbreeding made the 
horses he had inferior in quality and smaller in 
size. In Oklahoma in the early days, we called 
them Indian ponies. They were usually small 



12 <5 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

as a rule, but were tough, with plenty of dura- 
bility. Many are the stories that have come out 
of the West regarding the wild mustang horses, 
especially the wild stallions. The wild stud 
will grow a mane that will come to the end of 
his nose, and a tail which practically drags the 
ground. This mane and tail are his plumes that 
he uses to entice his lady fair, as the male 
fowl entices the hen. And if you don't think 
he knows how to arch his neck and strut or 
spread his stuff, so to speak, and show off his 
plumage to the best advantage, you have never 
seen him in action. These wild stallions that 
the hand of man had never touched were the 
sole monarches or rulers of a certain range, 
and their herd of mares averaged from fifteen 
to thirty head, and sometimes more. His rule 
was the survival of the fittest, for his leader- 
ship was constantly disputed by younger horses 
coming on and leaders of other bands of mares 
that were in need of more breeding stock to in- 
crease their harems. In fighting, the wild stal- 
lion will usually stand on his hind feet, pawing 
or striking with his forefeet, biting or whirling 
and kicking with his hind feet if the opportuni- 
ty affords; or doing almost anything or using 
any method that can be used to an advantage on 
his adversary. These stallions had to be con- 
stantly on the lookout from man as well as 
beast, and to hear his shrill whistle of warning 
to the herd that danger is near, on a cold frosty 
morning, is a thrill long to be remembered. 
And if you are of the West, it will make you 
want to be as free as he in this world of cares 
and woes. Nature had ways of taking care of 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 127 

her children which, if left alone, would prevent 
inbreeding; and the survival of the fittest will 
build up the herd, I have heard old mountain 
men say that a wild stallion will cut out all the 
fillies in his own herd before they had reached 
the age of two, and will drive them out onto 
another range for some other wild stallion to 
claim. Of course he weeds out all the young 
horses that dare to dispute his authority. By 
doing this, inbreeding which has a tendency to 
weaken animals as well as human beings, is 
prevented* 

Many old time western men can tell you of 
the pacing white stallion that roamed the Texas 
plains in the early '70 r s and '80's, They will 
tell you that his range was from Coleman 
County, Texas, westward. From their des- 
cription of this horse, he must have been truly 
a "wonder horse* * with snow- white mane and 
tail, and fleet as a shadow. He out-raced the 
best horse flesh of his day in order to escape the 
branding iron and rope, and ended his princely 
days somewhere in the West, Uncle Sam 
Moore of Seguin, Texas, is now past eighty. 
His father came to Texas during the Texas 
Revolution and was a personal friend of Gen- 
eral Sam Houston who has been called the 
George Washington of Texas, Uncle Sam will 
tell you this stallion was as pretty as a gal at a 
candy breaking, and the swiftest thing that ever 
lifted foot in a wild herd. This sheik of the 
plains would never break a pace. The moment 
a rider approached, he would put in flight his 
herd of mares with flying manes and tails, and 
with zephyrlike speed he would keep beyond 



128 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

the heartbreak of lasso or corral that would 
mean the loss of freedom to him and his harem. 
Many men gave up good jobs trying to catch 
this wonder horse and prince of the prairies. If 
anyone was ever successful, it is not recorded 
in the tradition of the West. And he was left 
to roam at the head of his harem and ever drift- 
ed westward ahead of the settlers, outsmarting 
top horsemen in the best cow outfits of that 
day. No doubt, his bones now rest in some 
grass-lined valley. Uncle Sam believes this 
monarch of mustangs was a thoroughbred, else 
whence came his stature, his speed and his 
spirit? Or was he a throw-back to the gilded 
Spanish stallion brought over by Cortez? 

My uncle Sid T. Allen, who now lives south 
of Roswell, New Mexico, has a close friend 
named Longnecker who has owned many large 
bands of horses that ranged in the foothills of 
the Sacramento and Guadalupe mountains of 
New Mexico. He told Uncle Sid of a sorrel 
stallion with long flaxen mane and tail that 
went wild and took unto himself a small harem 
of mares and defied capture for years. Mr. 
Longnecker had so many horses that he paid 
no particular attention to this one until he be- 
gan to get so many reports about what a beau- 
tiful horse he was. Then he decided to try to 
catch him as he would be a valuable horse for 
breeding purposes. He picked six or eight top 
cow -hands who were considered the best ropers 
in that part of the state, looked the country 
over, and finally located a blind point between 
two box canyons. This is a point where can- 
yons run together and the walls have been caved 



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HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 129 

straight off so that there is no place where a 
horse can go down. These men maneuvered 
the herd around and got them started down 
this blind point, advancing on the stallion, all 
riding fast abreast. They let the mares and 
other horses all cut back since the stallion was 
all they wanted. They ran him down this 
narrow point and were confident that one of 
them, at least, could get his rope around the 
neck of this swift animal, when he would have 
to run back by them to regain his freedom. 
Longnecker said this horse, when he saw he 
was trapped, ran toward them just like he an- 
ticipated running the gauntlet. Every man had 
his rope down ready to cast the fatal loop that 
would mean the end of his freedom. When 
the stallion was within about forty or fifty 
yards of them, he whirled on his hind feet and 
ran about one hundred yards. This gave him 
a good start just like a man would do in mak- 
ing a running jump. He never slacked his speed 
and left the ground right on the brink of the 
box canyon. He jumped across a deep chasm 
that a thirty foot lariat could not swing across 
when thrown by a man standing on the bank 
that the horse jumped from. Mr. Longnecker 
said the horse looked like he sailed across the 
canyon as a flying squirrel will make a leap 
from tree to tree. If he had failed in his jump, 
he would have fallen over a hundred feet, to 
certain destruction. Longnecker was so impress- 
ed by the jump the horse made for his freedom, 
that he said, "Let him go, and if I ever hear of 
another cowboy trying to catch him, he will 
have me to whip/' A horse that could figure 



130 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

out, in the twinkling of an eye, what to do to 
escape, and then have the courage to risk his 
life to accomplish his purpose, was entitled to 
his freedom so long as he might live. Thus 
thought Mr. Longnecker. 

This story was told my uncle in 1933, so 
there are still places in the West where the wild 
horse still survives. He uses a range that is as 
rough as that of the deer, and it is harder to 
get close to him than it is to a deer; for these 
wild stallions are ever on the lookout to pro- 
tect their harems as well as themselves. Many 
old horse hunters resorted to trickery to catch 
these wild stallions. One of the most favored 
was to take a strange mare into a wild stallion's 
range and tie her out to a long rope. They 
would usually place the strange mare in a box 
or dead-end canyon. When the horse went up 
this canyon to pay a social visit to the strange 
lady, they would close the gap in the canyon 
below him with rails or some kind of a stout 
fence and then proceed to catch the horse. Thus, 
the horse would come to the end of his freedom 
over a strange lady who had been placed in his 
path as a decoy, like many men have come to 
their downfalls over strange ladies. 

Some old time wild horse hunters and cow- 
boys in the early days replenished their herds 
by creasing the best looking wild horses. It 
took a fine shot to do this but those days and 
times produced many fine shots. If they kill- 
ed a horse now and then, there were plenty 
more horses. The way this feat was accom- 
plished, they would catch the horse standing 
or running sideways to the man that did the 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 131 

shooting. He would draw a fine bead, creas- 
ing the horse's neck just behind the ears a short 
distance. The shot was intended to go close 
enough to the spinal column to stun and knock 
the horse down; and while he was in this con- 
dition, they would put a rope on him strong 
enough to hold him when 'he regained con- 
sciousness. If the horse hunter's rifle bullet 
went too far down in the neck, of course, it 
would break the spinal column which would 
mean instant death. If this was done properly 
by a good expert rifle shot, the horse would be 
none the worse from the experience, as it only 
stunned him or rendered him unconscious for 
a few minutes. 

Some of these wild horses could not be 
broken or tamed to the ways of man. They 
preferred to die fighting rather than give up 
their freedom. This extreme stubbornness was 
generally among the older horses. Hence the 
old saying, 'It's hard to teach an old dog new 
tricks." The most successful taming was done 
among the younger horses that had not reached 
the age of maturity. And when they grew up 
their memory of the old range life was not so 
deeply imbedded in their minds. You can 
raise a bunch of range horses in a certain locality 
or part of the country, or let them get the range 
well established in their minds, then move them 
several hundred miles and they will always try 
to go back to the old range. Plenty of authentic 
stories come out of the West of horses that re- 
turn distances that are almost unbelievable, 
swimming swollen streams, enduring many 



132 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

hardships in order to return to the land of their 
birth, or locality in which they were reared. 

It is also natural for game, such as the deer 
family, cattle, or range horses to know where 
the grass is the greenest. They will be ranging 
on a certain side of the mountain one fall be- 
cause the range or forage is good there* The 
next fall or spring they may be in another part 
of the country* You can journey to their old 
range and you will invariably find it dry and 
the grazing poor. So nature endows her chil- 
dren with an instinct that serves them well in 
time of need. I have heard old time ranchmen 
say when the country was open range, they 
had left home on a journey to be gone for per- 
haps ten days or two weeks* On leaving, their 
range was extremely dry and on returning home 
they could not find any of their cattle. In- 
quiring around from neighboring ranchers, 
they would find where there had come a good 
rain, some eight, ten, or fifteen miles from their 
native range, and they could go there and find 
their cattle. I know of no better barometer as 
to the time bad weather is coming than a bunch 
of cattle grazing on the plains in the late fall, 
when it's about time for the blue northers to 
come sudden and soon. Some old range cow 
will raise her head long before any sign of the 
storm is visible to man, and sniff the air, then 
leisurely start for the breaks or deep canyons 
where she will be protected, to escape the cold 
north wind. The younger cattle will accept her 
leadership and follow. Horses or game will also 
follow this same rule. I have heard Grandfather 
say on numbers of occasions it was almost use- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 133 

less to go deer hunting when an east wind was 
blowing, for the east wind will chill you to 
the bone, and deer will always be lying down 
in some place where the wind will not strike 
them. They will hear you coming and sneak 
off. Both horses and cattle have a summer 
and winter range, and if left unmolested by 
man with plenty of territory to range over, 
they will always know where the grass grows 
greenest at all times of the year. They will 
stay in good flesh, except in extremely un- 
seasonable years. 

Many western men have captured wild mus- 
tangs, where their range was not too large, by 
walking them down. At first, this might 
sound unbelievable, but nevertheless, a strong 
healthy man accustomed to walking can mosey 
along and cover a great deal of territory in a 
day. They usually worked in relays with one 
man continually following the herd day and 
night, never giving them an opportunity to 
water or graze. In about a week's time you 
have got a bunch of horses that are so tired, 
gaunt, leg weary, thirsty, and completely fag- 
ged out, that they can hardly go another foot. 
It is no trouble for a good horseman to catch 
any of the choice animals he wishes after they 
have been walked down. 

The southwestern cow-horse is truly a won- 
der horse, and no story of horses would be com- 
plete without giving you a brief sketch of him, 
since he is of a mixed ancestry like Americans; 
and his development or improved breeding can 
be traced back to the closing days of the open 
range. With the coming of the barbed wire, 



134 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

the Longhorns went out, and the white- faced 
Herefords made their appearance. This brought 
about a change in the cow-horse from the wiry 
mustang with four hundred years of heritage 
back of him* These mustangs played an im- 
portant part in helping to bring about civiliza- 
tion to the West just as the Longhorn cattle 
did; for it would have been impossible to drive 
the cattle to market up the long trail to Kansas ' 
without the aid of the horse. Perhaps the hey- 
day of the cow-horse, roughly speaking, oc- 
curred in the decades between 1866 and 1890. 
The Longhorn period of the Southwest could 
have never been built up without the horse. The 
latter part of this period saw a great change in 
cow-horses, taking place in some localities in 
such a way that you would scarcely recognize 
the old mustang, for the ranchmen were con- 
stantly importing into the range country fine 
stallions from the East. Most of them had the 
idea they needed larger horses, taller or more 
slender. 

In Oregon, they used Clydesdale sires; in 
Montana and the Dakotas Percheron sires. 
Both were crossed with range mares with prac- 
tically the same results. You got what the 
cowboys commonly called puddin' -foots. 
These ranchmen thought they needed larger 
horses to carry a man over the rough, mountain- 
ous country. They were breeding up the cat- 
tle, and it was only natural that they should 
try their hand at changing the horses. But in 
many instances they found these crosses a fail- 
ure, for every pound of weight they added to 
the horse lessened his endurance, and increased 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 135 

his clumsiness. They were also lacking in 
natural ' 'cow-sense/' the most important thing. 
No doubt it was hard for many Easterners to 
believe that a horse not much larger than a 
stocky pony could have more intelligence, en- 
durance, and stamina on the cattle range than a 
half dozen of their imported horses, which 
lacked "cow-sense/' The eastern horses, which 
were originally from northern Europe, seem- 
ingly lacked this * 'cow-sense/' Many northern 
ranchers bred horses that were larger, faster, 
and stronger, but were soft and unfit to work 
cattle in a rough country, where sometimes, 
you were compelled to ride a horse hard all 
day without food or water, and even then pos- 
sibly you must move the herd after dark, using 
the North Star as a compass, sometimes sleeping 
out in the open on icy nights with dry winds 
parching the range. All these conditions must 
be endured and then your mount would have 
to make his living off the range; maybe stay 
out in the cold all night without a blanket, or 
the feedbag filled with pats. It did not take 
the ranchman long to find out that his half- 
breeds produced from draft stock, were not very 
good; but there was no doubt that the Spanish 
horse or range mustang should be made heavier 
and improved in other ways. 

It was up to the southwestern ranchman to 
find the proper cross. The ranchmen of the 
Southwest must have had an idea that this 
change should be brought about more gradual- 
ly since they did not need too large a horse to 
do good cow work; but only needed a horse of 
around nine hundred to a thousand pounds in 



136 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

weight that was quick on the get-away and 
could turn on a dime, giving you back fifteen 
cents in change; sit down on his hind-quarters 
at a moment's notice or hold a large steer when 
called upon. So a new factor entered into the 
picture among the southwestern ranchers. Their 
cross was Steeldust which really brought about 
the desired results or change from the old Span- 
ish or mustang cow-horse, and produced a real 
southwestern horse that can truthfully be call- 
ed an American product. He is commonly 
known as a quarter-horse, quick from the start 
get-away. He can fairly fly over short distan- 
ces, and while running at full speed, can stop 
suddenly, sitting down on his hunkers to throw 
a yearling at the end of the rope. In cutting 
cattle, he can stop, whirl in short order, and be 
running just as fast in another direction, in a 
few seconds. All of these requirements are 
necessary in a good cow-horse. The quarter- 
horse or southwestern cow-horse can be called 
a mixture of many breeds. He has been bred 
by the merciless law of the survival of the fit- 
test until his endurance and stamina are un- 
equalled. On the dam side, in many instances, 
he has Spanish, Arab, and Barb blood in his 
veins. The cowman of the Southwest de- 
mands that a good cow-horse have the follow- 
ing qualities: speed to overtake the fastest calf, 
weight to hold the heaviest steer, endurance to 
work day after day, and finally, a desire and 
love to work with cattle, and to out-think the 
cow. 

The endurance of the old Spanish pony, in 
some instances, was almost unbelievable. As 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 137 

to their breeding and ancestry, they were some- 
what like the boy's dog they were just horses. 
I want to relate a true instance of a little Span- 
ish mare I rode one fall on the North Plains in 
1909, She would not have weighed over 650 
or 700 pounds when in good flesh. A boy 
with whom I was associated had owned her 
from the time she was large enough to ride. He 
always rode her very hard; in fact, you seldom 
ever saw him riding her except in a long lope or 
a fast run. She was fractious, and kept her 
head in the air just as high as possible. I have 
had her to run away with me and cut my fing- 
ers while I was holding to the saddle-horn. She 
would do this by throwing her head up so high 
that her neck would hit the horn. You might 
think a horse of this size could not run away 
with a man, and I thought so too, but she 
changed my mind completely. When she wanted 
to run away, she would in spite of hell and high 
water, regardless of who was riding her. When 
she ran away, the only way I was ever able to 
stop her was to reach over, doubling up my 
thumb on one side and clinching her nose, grip- 
ping it and cutting off her wind; and even then 
she would keep going until she reeled. The 
boy who owned her ran her in races, and 
everywhere he went until almost everyone 
said she had been run to death, for you 
could hear her getting her breath one hun- 
dred yards when she was running. He 
traded her to a fellow named Joe Swann that 
owned a small cow outfit joining the old 
YOU, and I was helping him with the round- 
up one fall. This mare had been ridden hard 



138 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

all day, working cattle. The ranch was about 
six miles from a little town on the Rock Island 
Railroad named Ramsdell, Texas, where we 
lived at that time. One evening Joe decided 
we would go to town. He saddled Old Gray, 
a horse of medium size that he worked in the 
field at times, and said I could ride the mare, 
making the remark that he hated to use her as 
she must be ridden down but we would take our 
time. We had ridden about two miles when the 
sun went down and it started getting cold fast. 
Joe remarked we were going to get very cold 
before we reached town unless we rode a bit 
faster. So he kicked Old Gray in the sides and 
the horse immediately swung into a lope. This 
mare had been run in many boys' country races 
and she must have thought a race was on, for 
she immediately became unmanageable. She 
passed Old Gray just as if he had been tied. I 
tried to stop her, but it was no use. We had kill- 
ed hogs a few days previous and Joe had given 
me a flour sack about a fourth full of sausage, 
to take to Mother. I had this sack tied on the 
front of the saddle and it came loose. I had 
to hold it in one hand, wrapping and folding 
the reins round and round each hand, and she 
kept right on running, getting her head higher 
and higher. This one-sided duel continued 
until I had my hands wrapped around the 
bridle reins up to within a few inches of the 
bridle bits. The bits were not ordinary, but 
were made with a long shank in the middle 
that had a roller on it which extended way up 
into the mouth, of Mexican make. This type 
of bit would usually set any ordinary horse 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 139 

down on his hunkers. I pulled with all my 
might but she never slacked her pace. The 
section of land the town was built on had a 
four-wire fence around it to keep the town 
cows from straying off into the surrounding 
rancher's herds. Each road running out of 
town had a large swinging plank gate across 
it. This mare ran the entire distance to this 
gate which was fully three miles from where 
we had started, and slid into the gate, break- 
ing the bottom plank. Needless to say, I had 
forgotten all about the cold norther blow- 
ing in my face* The sausage gave the saddle 
front on one side such a fine grease job, where 
it had beaten back and forth that it still show- 
ed many years later when I sold the saddle on 
entering dental college. I was around seventeen 
years of age at the time this runaway occurred, 
and perhaps I was not as strong as a grown 
man, but this same little old Spanish mare 
would run away with a full grown man that 
weighed around one hundred and seventy-five 
pounds, and in addition a saddle weighing 
forty pounds; it made no difference to her. She 
was unruly, and not a good cow-horse, being 
like some children too head-strong; ^ and she 
would not respond to your hand guiding her 
with the reins. 

I have ridden many good cow-horses; you 
could work cattle with them using nothing but 
a halter or a rope around their necks* I have 
a friend living in Lubbock, W. W. Pollard, 
who at one time owned a large ranch south- 
west of LubbocL In 1915 he traded for a 
bunch of young horses. Among them was a 



140 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

small bay pony that developed into an excep- 
tionally good cow-horse weighing around 900 
pounds. He was used mostly by his wife, be- 
ing very gentle and easy to guide. The fame 
of this horse spread over the country. He was 
quick, would go anywhere you wished him to, 
at full speed. A man came around in 1920 
when the horse was eight years old and offered 
Bill $250 for him. Bill sold him, thinking he 
had made a wonderful sale. The buyer proved 
later to be a polo scout. The horse was immed- 
iately put into polo games which he took to 
like a duck does to water. He was sold several 
times in quick succession, bringing a higher 
figure each time until two years later when a 
rich man in New York City gave ten thousand 
dollars for him to use in a national polo match. 
When my mind dwells on horses, I can't 
help but recall a fine black mare we raised call- 
ed Bess. We raised her from a colt and she 
could all but reason. Her mother was coal 
black and we called her Black Satin. She was 
of Hamiltonian stock which are fine all-pur- 
pose horses. As an unthoughtful fool-hardy 
boy, I killed this mare or was the cause of her 
death. Dad had me herding some yearlings on 
the open range, riding her. He had cautioned 
me that she was heavy with foal. It was mist- 
ing rain on this particular morning and I rode 
her across some slippery sand rock. She slip- 
ped and fell and was not able to regain her foot- 
ing without the assistance of several men. She 
lost her colt from this fall and later died. Dad 
threatened to skin me alive for this stunt, and 
if it would have brought the mare back, I 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 141 

would have gladly submitted to the skinning. 
Uncle Sid finally talked him out of the lick- 
ing* We owned several of her colts. They 
were all fine, intelligent horses, but Bess was 
better known to me. I could catch her any- 
where, for I always petted her or led her to 
water. Father had to hem her up in a stall 
to catch her, for she knew he was going to 
work her. She was high-strung and always 
went against the bits. You never had to touch 
her with the whip or reins to get all she had, in 
any kind of work. All that was necessary was 
just a slacking of the reins. Knowing the 
mare as I did, I am confident she would have 
gone against the bit in any kind of work or 
driving until she dropped dead in the harness. 
She must have weighed around eleven or twelve 
hundred pounds. 

Dad was always very good to his horses, 
treating them with the utmost kindness at all 
times. This mare seemed to be really fond of 
him, but it is Father's nature to be afraid of 
horses, unless they are very gentle, while I can 
truthfully say I have seen very few horses that 
I was afraid of. Strange but true, nevertheless, 
if you are afraid of the horse, he knows it be- 
fore you realize that you are just a little bit 
afraid of him. I have had this trait demon- 
strated to me to my own satisfaction. There is 
an inner-born sixth sense that tells the horse 
this; just like a baby knows who likes him and 
who does not. 

We were running a livery stable in the south- 
ern part of Wheeler, Texas, in 1 908. A cattle 
commission man named Witherspoon was 



142 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

working out of Kansas City, Missouri, stock- 
yards* He stopped at our little town and hired 
Father to drive him to several large ranches in 
the southern part of the county* It was nearing 
Christmas time, and they had driven hard all 
day inspecting and buying cattle. When night 
overtook them, they were about seventeen or 
eighteen miles from home* It was necessary for 
them to return that night for the man had to 
catch an early morning train for Kansas City; 
so they left the ranch for home and had not 
gone far when a real blizzard blew up* The 
entire distance back to town was due north 
facing the blizzard, with plenty of barbed wire 
ranch gates to open and close in the long jour- 
ney home* Father was driving Bess along 
with another broom-tailed pony that had never 
amounted to much, but it was a double buggy 
and you needed some kind of extra horse to 
hold up the other end of the neck yoke* It was 
an extremely dark night and it started sleeting 
and spitting some snow* They had the buggy 
top up and lap robes wrapped around their 
feet and legs, but they were compelled to face 
the cold winds* The cattle buyer soon got so 
cold he had to get out and walk behind the 
buggy to keep from freezing* He opened and 
closed the gates and they had no trouble with 
Bess* Father said it was so dark you could not 
see your hand before you* Dad could always 
stand a great deal of cold, but this night they 
had only covered about half the distance home 
when he began to get so cold he realized he 
would have to walk some or else freeze* So 
when they came to a gate, the man got into the 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 143 



to l et Father walk. Dad opened the 
gate but the mare would not budge. He thought 
there must be something wrong, so he laid the 
gate down and led her through, and went back 
and closed the gate and told the man to drive 
on, that he would walk* Bess refused to move 
an inch. The man hit her with the whip and 
she started kicking. Dad went around to her 
head and led her about fifty yards. But the 
wind was so severe and strong that he needed 
to walk back of the buggy which helped to 
break the wind. He dropped back behind the 
buggy and she stopped and would go no fur- 
ther. He got into the buggy and took hold of 
the lines; before he could speak to her, she im- 
mediately started off. He then decided to slip 
the lines to the man and ease out of the seat, 
swinging off behind the buggy with the horses 
trotting. He had not more than hit the ground 
until Bess stopped aud would not budge. No 
matter how much the man coaxed her or hit her 
with the whip she would not move. If he hit 
her more than once or twice with the whip she 
would start kicking immediately. So Father 
finally took the tie ropes and tied them on to 
the end of the buggy lines, running them on 
through the buggy, and held the lines and 
walked behind the buggy, for the wind was so 
strong that he could hardly stand up without 
the buggy top as a wind-breaker. With this 
arrangement Bess would go right on either 
walking or trotting. Anyone could drive this 
mare in the daytime, for we hired her out to 
different drivers on a number of occasions. She 
evidently knew that this blizzard had created 



144 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

an unusual situation. It being pitch dark and 
freezing cold, she must have been afraid to risk 
anyone else to drive hen But how could she 
tell who was driving her under the circumstan- 
ces that I have just related? That is some- 
thing I have tried to figure out. She must have 
been able to tell how Father held the lines while 
driving. Anyway, your guess is as good as 
mine. 

The horse has ever been the friend of men. 
He has been bred up until you can have almost 
any kind that suits your fancy, from the small- 
est Shetland pony not over three feet high 
and weighing only a few hundred pounds, up 
to the largest draft horse that weighs more than 
a ton and can move unbelievable loads* I have 
seen these fine, intelligent Percherons in the oil 
fields being used in loading large steam boilers, 
on skids and trucks, with their master talking 
to them as if they were human beings. They 
would stop and hold the weight of the boiler at 
any point, until men could place scotches or 
skids under it to keep it from slipping. In fact, 
you can have a horse that is suitable for almost 
any purpose. It can truthfully be said they have 
been mankind's greatest friend and help-mate 
throughout the ages. Many noted horsemen 
will tell you that in many instances horses have 
more sense than their owners. They are some- 
what like bright children left with dumb rela- 
tions; they never get a fair chance. You have 
no doubt heard the old saying "just common 
horse sense/' 

Many of our noted men of the past have 
owned famous horses. It would seem possible 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 145 

that the horse responds to his master's intelli- 
gence. General Scott rode a famous horse 
named Yellow-Jacket through the streets of 
the Mexican capitol at the surrender of Santa 
Anna. This horse was from Kentucky and 
was owned by William Jackson Moore, the 
father of Sam Moore. Mr. Moore, Sr., was a 
personal friend of General Sam Houston, hav- 
ing ridden a mule all the way from Virginia to 
join the Texas Army. -After the Mexican War 
Mr. Moore sold him for $500. Robert^ E* Lee 
owned the famous horse, Traveler. Lee's writ- 
ings about this horse are beautiful to read, re- 
vealing a sincere affection for him, which was 
returned by the horse. Washington had a 
famous horse. Alexander the Great built a 
tomb for his favorite war horse Bucephalus, 
which still stands to this day in Mandra, British 
India. I could go on and on relating stories of 
famous men and horses that spent many years 
of their lives together as constant associates and 
companions. No doubt each understood the 
other's moods, love and sincere affection dis- 
played on the part of the men; devotion, loyal- 
ty, and faithfulness on the part of the horse. 
I know of no better insight into a man's char- 
acter and disposition than the way he treats 
his horse. My mother used to say that the way 
a man treated his horse was a good indication 
of the way he would treat a woman when mar- 
ried. So when a young lady of today goes to 
take unto herself a husband, she might observe 
these words, wisely spoken by an elderly lady, 
and profit thereby. 

Horses respond to the treatment or mood of 



146 HISTORICAL CARyiNGS IN LEATHER 

their owners. If the man working the horse is 
high-tempered and fractious, and abuses his 
horse, he is sure to transmit this disposition to 
the horse; on the other hand, if the owner is 
kind, calm, and considerate, the horse is almost 
sure to be the same way. There are several 
ways to break to harness or to the saddle. You 
can rope him and tie him up to a snubbing 
post and ear him down, saddling him regard- 
less of how much he paws, kicks, or resents 
the rough treatment you are bestowing upon 
him, using no precaution whatsoever. But if 
he is a young horse, he is sure to do his best 
when mounted to pitch all this strange contrap- 
tion from his back in any way possible; es- 
pecially when the rider mounts him and rams 
two sharp spurs into his sides. It is only 
natural for the horse to pitch and fight back 
with all his might. I imagine you would do 
the same if placed in his position. In this way 
the man shows the horse, regardless of how he 
may pitch or resist the load, that he still shall 
remain on his back, and the horse is finally 
convinced that it is useless to try to buck him 
off. The writer has broken many young 
horses, using no particular cut-and-dried 
method except kindness. In gradually teach- 
ing the horse to carry a strange load on his 
back, I have placed a saddle on a young horse 
and have led him around with another horse 
for several days, until he became accustomed to 
the saddle; then I have placed a sack of wheat 
or some other heavy object in the saddle and 
tied it down fast and repeated the leading pro- 
cess until he was accustomed to carrying the 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 147 

load. Then if you have been handling, feed- 
ing, and petting him all this time it is very rare 
for the horse to pitch if you mount him along- 
side of another gentle horse someone else is rid- 
ing* He will usually go right along without 
any trouble to speak of. Horses can be broken 
to harness practically the same way. By ex- 
ercising good judgment, putting the young 
horse alongside of some older well -broken horse 
that will do your bidding, the young horse 
soon learns to do likewise. In breaking a 
young horse with kindness and gradually 
bringing him around to doing your biding, 
you will have a horse that is far more service- 
able and not near so apt to revert to his un- 
broken state when something unforeseen goes 
wrong. And so it has ever been throughout 
the ages of civilized man, the horse has been al- 
ways willing to give all his magnificent 
strength to lighten the burdens of mankind* 
Either at work or at play, he is one of man- 
kind's best helpers, and one of God's noblest 
creatures. The poet Gene Lindberg, gives a 
contribution to the few remaining wild horses 
of pur Western plains and mountains when he 
writes: 



Tho he's a monarch of mesa and plain, 
Free as the breezes that ruffle his mane, 
Riders are stalking his trail once again; 
Hunters who break and brand. 

He may be fleet, but the wind on the slope 
Whistles less swiftly than circling rope. 
He may be strong. But what player can hope 
Always to play and win? 



148 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

Soon hell be feeling the cut of the cinch. 
Saddle and spurs will be making him flinch. 
Halter and bridle will throttle and pinch, 
Bending his will to man's. 

By permission of The Denver Post 

MY OLD STETSON HAT 

Stained with alkali, sand and mud, 
Smeared with grease and crimson blood, 
Battered and bent from constant use, 
Still you have stood the danged abuse. 

A true companion through all these years, 
Fanning broncs, and longhorn steers, 
I dedicate this to the old gray lid, 
For the useful things the old hat did. 

Used to decoy some rustler's lead, 
Or as a pillow beneath my head; 
Coaxing a smoldering fire in the cold, 
Panning dust in search of gold. 

Pushed up big and knocked down flat 
Has been the lot of my stetson hat, 
For carrying oats to a piebald bronc, . 
Security for drink at the Honky Tonk. 

Mistreated, abused on a round-up spree, 
Walked on, tromped on, old J. B. 
Fighting fire in a clapboard shack, 
And stopping wind in an open crack. 

Been everywhere that a hat can go, 
In forty-eight states and Mexico, 
I've grown old as we trailed along, 
While you, old hat, are going strong. 

Tho' battered and soiled and all out of shape, 
From the sun, wind, and rain I have no fear, 
You have been a good pal through all of that 
You dirty, old grey, old stetson hat. 

. Author Unknown 



CATTLEMEN AND COWBOYS OF THE 
GREAT SOUTHWEST 



No story of the great Southwest would be 
complete without including the cowman and 
his hard-riding leather-faced range riders, for 
they have played a vital part in history 
throughout the ages in bringing civilization 
down to us today. They have ever been the 
pioneers. The patriarchs or pioneers of old 
were cowmen. In the first book of the Bible 
we read of Abram who was a Chaldean of the 
land of Ur, whose name was later changed to 
Abraham and to whom God made a promise 
that through him all the families of the earth 
should be blessed. Abraham was very rich in 
cattle. He was bothered with the same things 
that cattlemen of today are bothered with in 
the great Southwest drouth, and wells going 
dry, difficulty in finding new ranges for his 
cattle. Abraham and Lot had so much stock 
that the Bible tells us they could not dwell to- 
gether in harmony. There was strife between 
the herdsmen of Abraham's cattle and the 
herdsmen of Lot's cattle. Abraham gave Lot 
his choice of the range or country in which they 
dwelled, and stated he would take what was 

149 



150 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

left. Lot lifted up his eyes and beheld all the 
Plains of Jordan. He observed that it was well 
watered everywhere, what more could a cow- 
man ask for? So he took it, and Abraham 
took the hill country or the land of Canaan 
which was not so well watered. He had to dig 
many wells, and so the old patriarch or pioneer 
and man of God, Abraham can rightfully be 
called our first great cattle baron* 

The Bible also tells us that his grandson, 
Jacob, was a good cowman, for he drove what 
proved later to be a shrewd bargain with his 
father-in-law, Laban, who was rich in cattle* 
Jacob asked to be paid his wages or services for 
which he had worked fourteen years, receiv- 
ing his two wives, Leah and Rachel, the latter 
whom Jacob really loved. His father-in-law 
stated how he had found favor in his eyes for 
he had learned that the Lord had blessed him 
for his sake, and Jacob replied, "Thou know- 
est how I have served thee and how thy cattle 
was with me/' Then he reminded Laban that 
his sustance was little when he came to serve 
him, and told his father-in-law that he would 
again serve him for another seven years, feed- 
ing and caring for his flock if he would take all 
the speckled, spotted, and brown cattle from 
the herd. Laban agreed and sent his sons three 
day's journey with all the off -colored cattle; 
and for his hire Jacob was to receive at the end 
of the allotted time all the speckled, spotted, 
and brown cattle. Jacob must have known 
plenty about the breeding of cattle in those 
days, for he did something to make the unborn 
cattle change from solid colors back to the spot- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 151 

ted and off -colors; for the Bible states that, 
" Jacob took him rods of green poplar and the 
hazel and chestnut tree; and piled white strakes 
in them and made the white appear which was 
in the rods. And he set the rods which he had 
piled before the flocks in the gutters in the 
watering troughs when the flocks came to 
drink, that they should conceive when they 
came to drink. And the flocks conceived be- 
fore the rods, and brought forth cattle ring 
straked, speckled and spotted/' Jacob went 
so far as to place the stronger cattle of the flock 
before the rods or eyes of the cattle in the gut- 
ters, that they might conceive; and the weaker 
ones were not allowed to drink the water thus 
prepared* So the feebler ones were Laban's 
and the stronger ones were Jacob's. And Jacob 
beheld the countenance of Laban and beheld it 
was not toward him as before. Thus, we find 
many stories in the book of Genesis pertain- 
ing to cattle. 

But the cattle country that I want to cover 
briefly is known as the great Southwest which 
covers all of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, 
and perhaps all of Arizona. Some authorities 
might include the southern portion of Califor- 
nia. The writer is a native born Texan and 
has pioneered in Oklahoma as a boy among the 
Indians. He has worked as a young man on 
many of West Texas's largest ranches, and at 
this time he owns a large ranch consisting of 
about a township (36 sections). This ranch 
is west of the continental divide in New Mexico. 

Of the 254 counties in Texas I have person- 
ally been in all of them except a scattering few. 



152 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

A noted railroad engineer from Tennessee once 
made the statement that none of Texas should 
ever have been put in cultivation, for there was 
enough grass here to raise cattle to feed the 
world Did you know that if Texas was lap- 
ped south it would cover Old Mexico and 
Central America, even reaching into South 
America? Lapped north, it would reach into 
the Dominion of Canada; lapped east, it would 
pass Florida and extend into the Atlantic 
Ocean; lapped west, it would pass California 
and reach into the Pacific. This great state has 
many counties covered with heavy pine timber. 
But the greater portion of the state at one time 
was covered with as a fine growth of native 
grasses as the world has ever seen. Nature has 
so adjusted these grasses as to make them more 
adaptable to drouth resisting and the climatic 
conditions of the soil in which they grow, for 
you can find an extremely cold climate in 
Texas where the blizzards in the winter sweep 
down across the northern plains with a fury 
that will freeze the marrow in your bones. 
Texas has several mountains in the south- 
western portion of what is commonly known 
as the Big Bend district that are higher than 
any mountains in the United States east of the 
Mississippi River. You can go to the extreme 
southern part of the state and find a semi- 
tropical climate where the oranges and grape- 
fruit grow the year round. In the Gulf Coast 
country of Texas is located some of her largest 
ranches of today* 

Before the days of the Civil War practically 
all of Texas was considered open range with 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 153 

no wire fences, for that was before the inven- 
tion of barbed wire. During the Civil War 
days almost all of her able-bodied men were in 
the Confederate army, with no one left at home 
except the women folks and old men and boys, 
to look after the cattle. They were unable to 
brand the increase from the herds. Many men 
went away to the army, leaving large herds 
when they went to serve the South in the Lost 
Cause. They came back home four years later 
to find these herds increased by the multiplied 
thousands. A man named Maverick, who is 
well known in Texas history, had thousands of 
cattle. One of his direct descendants served in 
Congress and is now Mayor of San Antonio, 
Texas. 

A custom soon developed on the open range 
in those days. It was that you could use your 
brand, which you had selected and recorded in 
the county seat in which your ranch was locat- 
ed. You should state the general locality and 
location of your particular range; then you 
could place your brand upon any animal that 
you found unbranded. This custom was later 
called branding mavericks. Many of the un- 
scrupulous or too ambitious cattlemen often 
crowded the issue to some extent by placing 
their brand upon a young calf that was follow- 
ing a cow with some other ranchers brand. 
Many men in the early days have been killed 
for this one thing. It might be of interest to 
you to know that during the years following 
the Civil War, cattle in South Texas, in what 
is commonly known as the brush country, were 
so plentiful they were slaughtered by the thou- 



154 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

sands for their hide and tallow alone. Many 
small factories sprang up for a short period of 
time to take care of this surplus of cattle, which 
lasted until railroads were built into central 
Kansas, thereby establishing a market for the 
cattle. The ranchmen soon learned that the 
old longhorn Texas steer could walk like a span 
of mules, covering plenty of territory in a day, 
grazing or foraging off the country which he 
was driven over. And in many instances, he 
reached market in better condition than when 
he left his native habitat 

I do not know that I cut my teeth on a sad- 
dle-horn, but I can truthfully say that I can- 
not remember the first horse I ever rode. When 
in Oklahoma as a small boy, I had been riding 
one of our horses with a large cowboy saddle 
that belonged to an uncle of mine, and the time 
came for me to unsaddle the horse, I untied the 
girt and was not able to remove the saddle 
from the horse's back. This particular horse 
had high withers which made the saddle stick 
onto his back rather snug. I kept jumping up 
as high as I could grasping the saddle horn with 
both hands and swinging all of my weight on 
it, trying to dislodge the saddle. My efforts 
were finally rewarded, for it came off with a 
flop and the opposite stirrup came over and 
hit me in the mouth knocking one baby tooth 
out and breaking a small corner of one of my 
front teeth which shows to this day. The point 
I want to impress upon the reader* s mind is that 
many authors write regarding the cowboy and 
cattlemen from what they have heard or been 
told by various people. I will endeavor to re- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 155 

late some things that have been told to me first 
hand, by men that have actually experienced 
them, and whose honesty I have no reason to 
question. Many of the experiences happened 
to me personally or I was present when they oc- 
curred; so I should be able to write with some 
authority and speak in an intelligent manner 
regarding the cowman and his leather-faced 
punchers of the Southwest. 

I was born, reared, and grew up in the midst 
of the greatest cow-country the world has ever 
known. I have seen this cow-country coated 
with as fine grasses as ever grew out of mother 
earth, which later was turned under by the plow 
and in its place now grows many agricultural 
products of the soil. Many of these acres should 
never have been touched by the plow, for the 
land is rolling and not much of it is rich enough 
to be profitable in farming. The top soil, which 
nature has been many years building up, is 
washed away in a few years and the soil will 
not produce crops that will pay a profit* Much 
of it has to be turned back to grass, so that 
nature can rebuild the soil once more. It takes 
many years for the grass to resod and rebuild 
this fertile top soil. Some authorities say it 
takes nature a hundred years to build one inch 
of top soil. Many of these wise old cowmen 
argued with the nester that the land was more 
valuable left with the native grasses thereon, 
and would be more profitable in stock-raising 
or stock-farming than it would be in raising 
cotton; but the nester or our first western 
pioneer farmers disregarded the advice and time 



156 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

has proved in many instances that the cowmen 
were right, 

To impress this thought on the reader's 
mind, I only have to refer you to the great dust- 
bowl of the Central West which they are now 
trying so hard to resod with native grasses, and 
even planting belts of trees across the country 
at regular intervals, trying to stop the wind 
from blowing the top soil away, down to the 
clay or rock* One of these terrible dust storms 
rolling across the plains of Nebraska, Kansas, 
Western Oklahoma, and West Texas, is a sight 
long to be remembered* The amount of dust 
and dirt that one of these storms carries for 
miles into the air, and settlings it leaves over 
some far distant places is almost unbelievable. 
In many instances, the wind will blow in the 
opposite direction and carry the dust back and 
settle some of it at least over the states where 
the soil was devastated 

I was in New Mexico last year visiting my 
ranch in the western portion of the state, and 
the question came up as to whether that part 
of the state would some day be a farming 
country* An old cowman told a story of an 
old man who had been, in this particular locality 
for years* Someone had asked him his opinion 
of farming in this country* He snorted and 
replied that you could put a quart of whiskey 
in each hip pocket and take a six-shooter in 
each hand, and you could not raise hell on a 
section of land* 

This statement is typical of many old-time 
cowmen* They have a rough outspoken ex- 
terior but no bigger-hearted, kinder or more 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 157 

chivalrous group of men ever lived, I do not 
say that it is right to take the Lord's name in 
vain but using curse words is to many western 
men only a way of expressing themselves in 
conversation. I know them well enough to 
make the statement that they never meant any 
disrespect for their maker in using a curse word 
occasionally, such as dang, damn, or hell, in 
their conversation* These same men were al- 
ways kind and considerate, and at all times they 
displayed chivalry in the presence of ladies. If 
some family was in destitute circumstances in 
the community, they were the first to come to 
their rescue with a fatted calf or a quarter of 
beef or some kind of a donation. They were 
always courteous and respectful to any lady or 
man of God that came into the community to 
preach the Bible. They would give of their 
means and services to the betterment of the 
community at large. They lived in a rough, 
wild, new country and had to deal with all 
classes of men. They were known and respect- 
ed for their fair dealings with their fellowman. 
Many of the old-time circuit riders or preachers 
of the early day were western men who had 
been born and reared in this sort of environ- 
ment and knew how to look beneath the sur- 
face and see the inner soul of the man. 

An instance was related to me not too many 
years ago that happened in a church in Ama- 
rillo, Texas, where the pastor was a western 
man who knew the lingo of the range. One 
Sunday night he preached a rather scorching 
sermon, giving the devil his just dues from all 
angles. At the close of the sermon he was at the 



158 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

door shaking hands with the congregation as 
they passed out the door. A cowman walked 
up to him and handed him a five dollar bill 
and remarked, 'Preacher, that was a damned 
good sermon you preached tonight; I certainly 
did enjoy it/' The preacher replied, "Fine, 
Brother, I am glad you enjoyed the sermon. 
Thanks for the bill; it takes a hell-of-a-lot of 
money to run a church these days/' This con- 
versation may sound very bad to anyone ex- 
cept a western-reared man. Most of them 
would never give it a thought. I don't want 
to leave the impression on the reader's mind 
that every western man swears by note, for this 
is not true. A western or pioneer woman who 
would swear was a rarity. It looks like some 
of these fine old ladies now receive some good 
lessons in swearing from their modernistic 
daughters; but not all the daughters are bad 
Hearing a woman swear reminds me of a sign 
I have seen in many western cafes and public 
places that reads: "Please do not swear in here; 
it's all right with us, but it sounds like hell to 
strangers/' I have never seen a woman swear 
that could make it sound all right. It just sort 
of seems out of place* 

I do not want to convey the idea to the read- 
er's mind that all people from the Southwest 
are rough and uncultured and wear horns. I 
have visited in New York City several times, 
and on those occasions I have been asked by 
many intelligent people questions like these: 
"Does everyone in Texas carry a six-shooter? 
Is there any farming in the state? Isn't all of 
Texas just cut up into big ranches?" Well, to 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 159 

anyone that really knows the state, those ques- 
tions are worse than ridiculous. 

The City of Lubbock, with a population of 
around forty thousand people, has a trade ter- 
ritory in area about the size of the state of 
Ohio, which is ninety-five per cent tillable. 
Forty years ago there were very few acres where 
the sod had been turned upside down. In 1903, 
Lubbock's trade territory made eighty-eight 
bales of cotton; and in 1937, over one million 
bales. The County of Lubbock is only thirty 
miles square, and in 1937 this county ginned 
172,207 bales of 500 pounds each in lint cot- 
ton. This county has several ranches that have 
not been placed in cultivation. Lubbock Coun- 
ty was organized on March 10, 189 l t just 
forty-eight years ago. Rollie C. Burns, who is 
now living and is eighty-two years of age, is 
known by this writer quite well. He was fore- 
man of the old IOA Cattle Company. Their 
north line was Nineteenth Street, one of Lub- 
bock' s busiest thoroughfares. Mr. Burns told 
me that when the election was held to organize 
the county, they had only 132 voters in the 
county. The law required them to have 150 
voters to organize same. So he put in the names 
of eighteen head of his saddle horses as voters to 
bring the total up to the required number* 
Many old-timers can relate to you instances of 
the names of saddle horses or shephard dogs 
being used to live out and prove up on a sec- 
tion of land. 

Forty or fifty years ago land in Texas was 
of little value, for the state kept her unoccupied 
domain when admitted to the Union in 1845. 



160 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHE] 

The state had so much land she would sell i 
for almost any price. The old capitol burne 
and the state had no money with which t 
build a new one. So she made a deal with th 
Farwell Brothers of Chicago, a contracting firr 
later known as the Capitol Syndicate; and fo 
its construction, the state of Texas gave th 
Capitol Syndicate three million acres of lan< 
in the northwestern part of the state. It cos 
the contracting company three million dollai 
in gold to construct the building which is buil 
from reddish-grey Texas granite, and is just 
little larger than the capitol of the Unite< 
States at Washington, D. C. Tradition tell 
us all this land broke the contracting compan^ 
which constructed the building. 

But it is now a different story; all this ol< 
Capitol Syndicate land is worth from ten t< 
thirty-five dollars per acre or more, for most o 
it is now used as farming lands. At one tim 
it was known as the XIT Ranch which wa 
one of the largest cattle ranches in the worl< 
and covered portions of ten counties. Man^ 
of the old-time cow-punchers who worked fo 
the Capitol Syndicate or XIT are still livin< 
and hold an annual reunion each year at Dal 
hart, Texas. Ab Blocker, still living, was on 
of the first XIT foremen. 

The writer saw a pair of old worn-out shop 
made boots in 1924, that had been made abou 
the year Lubbock County was organized. Thes< 
boots had been obtained in exchange for a sec 
tion of land not many miles from Lubbock 
This land sold in 1924 for $65 per acre, $41, 
600 for the section. They were expensive boots 




mm 

1 IAS la-- 

5 j5 P.O c 



ltKJ 



. 
s " S S 



M 



. _ g 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 161 

but when the deal was made, the cowboy prob- 
ably drove a good bargain and got all he could 
have sold the section of land for. The Dutch 
bought Manhattan Island from the Indians for 
$24 in cheap jewelry or trinkets. What is it 
worth today? The IOA Ranch composed all 
the southern part of Lubbock County in 1891, 
and this only formed a part of its range, as it 
comprised a greater portion of several counties. 
One of the largest ranches handed down 
from the old cattle barons is the King Ranch 
located in the Gulf Coast country of South 
Texas. This consists of more than a million 
acres of land. The writer has been across this 
ranch which consists of the greater portion of 
several large counties. It still belongs to heirs 
of old Captain King; and the City of Kings- 
ville is named in his honor. The old Captain, 
Richard King, has passed on to the happy 
hunting ground or last round-up of all cattle- 
men. His wife was still living a few years ago. 
An amusing story is told on her granddaughter 
who was matriculating in a college of some 
kind in Chicago; the daughter's surname was 
Kleberg which is the name of a county that was 
named in honor of her father who married into 
the King family. One of the faculty members 
was asking all the usual run of questions on 
matriculation; her name, where she was from 
she replied, "Kingsville." When he asked her 
for the location of this town, she replied, 'In 
Kleberg County/' Then he asked her where 
Kleberg County is, and she said, "In the north- 
east corner of Grandmother's pasture." All of 
this was correct* 



162 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

I have a friend living in Lubbock, Texas, 
who is my exact age. His father, Henry B. Mc- 
Kinley, was the first sheriff of Hill County, 
Texas. He died last year at ninety-six years 
of age. He owned at one time 130 sections of 
land in Deaf Smith County. He traded a small 
spring wagon and two broom-tailed ponies for 
the section of land that the city of Plainview, 
Texas, is now built upon. Mr. McKinley tried 
to back out on the deal. 

It happened this way: He was driving a 
large herd of cattle across the plains and had 
this small spring wagon and team for his own 
convenience. He camped one night, and a nes- 
ter came over and offered to trade him a section 
of land close to where they were camped, for 
the wagon and team. It was all level and he 
could see that it was good land, so he finally 
agreed to trade, stating he would bring the team 
and wagon over to the nester's place the next 
morning. That night he got to thinking that he 
had more land than he knew what to do with; 
he did not need this land, and so he decided to 
back out. The next morning he drove by the 
nester's dugout and told him his decision. He 
said the man's wife with several little children 
came out and all started crying. Through 
sympathy for the woman who said she was go- 
ing back East if she had to walk, he went 
through with the deal. He later sold this sec- 
tion to the Santa Fe Railroad Company for 
sixteen thousand dollars. They, in return, cut 
it up and started a townsite which is now a 
thriving little city of ten thousand population. 

I can't remember when I did not know 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 163 

Frank Bundy, who is now eighty years of age. 
He lives in Cooke County, Texas, not far from 
where my people now live. I played with his 
boys in the first school I ever attended. He 
told me that he helped to survey the section of 
land where Amarillo, Texas, first started, and 
is now a city of around forty-odd thousand. 

In the early days cattle were a necessity. Cat- 
tle have been domesticated so long it is difficult 
to trace their origin. Some have supposed they 
were descended from the wild ox of Central 
Europe. One of the smallest as well as the 
most primitive of all wild cattle is the Anoa or 
pigmy buffalo of the island of Celebes. It 
stands about twenty-nine inches at the shoul- 
ders. Cattle have ever been the animals of the 
grassy plains of all countries. They always 
adapt themselves to the particular country in 
which they are located, furnishing milk, butter, 
cheese, meat, and leather. They have done 
more than any other animal to render the de- 
velopment of civilization possible in all fron- 
tier countries. Milk is one of nature's natural 
foods. In fact, it is the only food that contains 
all elements essential to life. Honey is another 
natural food which is absorbed directly into the 
blood stream without the aid of digestion. The 
promised land of Canaan was a land "flowing 
with milk and honey/' 

Our first cattle were brought from western 
Europe by Columbus in 1493; and from these 
descendants came the Texas Longhorns that 
played so vital a part in the early day develop- 
ment of Texas and the great Southwest. They 
were long-legged and could travel many miles 



164 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

to water, ranging over many acres if necessary 
to maintain their flesh. They could be driven 
many miles in a day and graze or even increase 
in weight while being driven across the country, 
especially when the range was good* All cattle 
drives were conducted in the spring or summer 
when the grass was green* One of these old 
long-horned steers could lick his weight in wild- 
cats if necessary. The many predatory animals 
that roamed the Southwest in the early days 
had little effect on them, for they had horns 
that were real weapons, and if cornered or pro- 
voked they could fight The Texas Longhorns 
are open range cattle which had served their 
usefulness when barbed wire came into use* 
When it became necessary to fence the range 
into individual pastures or ranches they found 
it harder to survive. 

The greater majority of Texas range cattle 
have been replaced by the Whiteface or Here- 
fords that are the pride and joy of the average 
Texas rancher. In South Texas we have many 
Brahman cattle that are descendants of the sa- 
cred cattle of India* They derived their name 
from Brahman* a religious caste of India* This 
is a hot country infested with many kinds 
of flies and insects. These cattle produce a 
peculiar oil or odor from their skin that 
makes all flies and insects leave them alone* 
Heat seems to cause these cattle little annoy- 
ance, for you will see them grazing or stand- 
ing out in the hot sun while other breeds of 
cattle are in the shade of some tree fighting 
flies* Here you have another example of 
nature taking care of her children* If any of 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 165 

our domestic cattle have as much as a sixteenth 
or even a thirty-second part of Brahman blood 
in them, the flies and insects will leave them 
alone. The King Ranch in South Texas, has 
made some wonderful development in cross 
breeding these cattle with other breeds, and 
have developed a marvelous type of beef ani- 
mal adapted to the hot Gulf Coast country. 

But the average Texan has a weak spot for 
whitefaced cattle. Old Dr. Hall, who is a good 
friend of the writer, owns a large ranch near 
Big Spring, Texas. He was going to the na- 
tional rodeo in Pendleton, Oregon, several 
years ago, and a great, big, broad-shouldered 
fellow came down the aisle. Dr. Hall waited 
until this man had passed and then said, ' 'Hello 
there, Texas." The fellow wheeled around 
and looked him over and said to the doctor: 
''How in the hell did you know I was from 
Texas?" The old doctor replied: "Well, it's 
no trouble for me to tell a Hereford from a 
Jersey." It would almost be an insult to ask the 
average cowboy to be nursemaid to a bunch of 
Jerseys or milk-stock cattle. I might say on 
the average ranch practically all the milk used 
on the chuck wagon comes in cans. 

Another thing about the average cowboy is 
that he wants his mount to consist of horses, 
altogether. A mare makes a good cow-horse 
but getting him to ride one is equivalent to ask- 
ing him to milk old Bossie. All of which goes 
against the grain. A well trained cow-horse 
certainly knows his stuff and can think just as 
fast as a man; he knows what is required of 
him and does it willingly and faithfully. They 



166 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

become somewhat like the old fire horses, who, 
if turned loose will follow the fire wagon to 
the fire. 

A ranchman once told me of a famous cut- 
ting horse he once owned that would cut any 
class of cattle out of the herd without a bridle 
on him* A horse of this kind is not uncommon 
in the Southwest cow-country. He stated that 
one spring after the wagon had come in from 
branding, he had turned all the horses out on 
the cow-range. There had been a great deal of 
rain and the grass was fine, all of which made 
the horses feel well. On this particular Sun- 
day morning, he noticed almost all of his horses 
standing on a small hill not far from the ranch 
house with their heads up, watching some- 
thing. He told his wife there might be a wolf 
on the other side of the knoll, so he decided to 
take his Winchester and walk over there and 
see if he could get a shot at it. Instead of go- 
ing directly to the horses, he went around the 
knoll and approached cautiously. Instead of 
finding a wolf, this is what he saw: on the other 
side of the knoll there was a flat glade of per- 
haps one hundred or more acres, and in this 
glade there were perhaps fifty or more cows 
with calves which had been branded recently. 
This particular cutting horse had rounded them 
up and was cutting the calves away from their 
mothers and putting them in one bunch and 
keeping the cows in another. I will leave this 
story with the reader's imagination. Was he 
putting on this show for the benefit of the 
other horses, showing them how to cut cattle, 
or did he just want some exercise to work off 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 167 

some of the excess energy the fine grass and rest 
had restored to his bones? Anyway, you will 
have to admit this horse had plenty of cow- 
sense. 

I have seen some men abuse their horses, but 
I can truthfully say the average cowboy loves 
his horse and gives him the best of care, and 
would rather go hungry himself than see his 
favorite mount want for anything. Of course, 
when cow- work is to be done, and he calls on 
him to do something he expects co-operation, 
and it is needless to say that Old Faithful is 
always there with the goods. There has al- 
ways been much discussion about which was 
the smartest, a horse or a dog. I am not going 
to attempt to answer that discussion. I have 
seen plenty of both that could all but talk or 
reason. There is a story about the cowboy who 
had a small spread and was a bachelor; he also 
had a cow-horse he was very fond of. One of 
his neighboring ranchers remarked one day 
about what a fine horse he had. The cowboy 
admitted he was fond of his mount, but said, 
"Gosh, but if he could only cook!" Did you 
ever notice when a fellow gets everything setting 
pretty, along comes someone with an invention 
or improvement that will make his set-up out 
of date? 

No one individual or group of individuals 
can stand in the way of progress. For years 
after the Civil War practically all of Texas, 
Oklahoma, and New Mexico was open range. 
Settlers in the East fenced their fields with rails 
or board fences, for labor and timber were plen- 
tiful and cheap. But the great grassy plains of 



168 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

the Southwest presented a different proposi- 
tion, for timber of any kind was a scarce ar- 
ticle. 

In the year 1874 there was filed in the 
United States Patent Office by X R Glidden 
of Illinois, a patent for barbed wire. These 
twisted singing wires wrecked and changed the 
customs of an empire. This little invention 
affected the cattlemen more than any other 
thing that had ever happened, for the advent 
of the barbed wire meant the passing of the 
open range with its longhorn cattle, and help- 
ed to usher in the blooded Herefords. It also 
settled the doom of many a cowboy, for with 
the ranges fenced, it did not take so many cow- 
punchers to look after the cattle. No doubt, 
many of these old cow-waddies began sticking 
around some nester's shack who had a young 
daughter coming on, and before long he let her 
slip the halter on him for life. And he hung 
up his boots, spurs, chaps, and saddle for the 
moth and rust to collect upon, and got himself 
a turning plow and became a part of the future 
development that turned all the level grassy 
plains into a farming country. 

With this barbed wire, the rancher could take 
fence posts and sink them into the ground at 
intervals and stretch from three to four wires 
along, tacking them onto the post, and have 
a fence that would hold his stock within cer- 
tain bounds. Don't ever think this change 
came about overnight, with no strife or blood- 
shed, for such is not the case. It caused neigh- 
bors and friends to fall out and turn against 
each other. Certain factions arose in the com- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 169 

munities. People were almost forced to line up 
with one or the other faction which made it 
impossible to please everyone. Some cattle- 
men were in favor of this change, for it was 
beneficial to the little cowman trying to get a 
toe-hold. It spelled the doom of the extreme- 
ly large cattle barons who had established their 
domains on the headwaters of some river and 
claimed all the lands drained by a certain stream 
or watershed as his range. They would forbid 
any other cowman to encroach upon this do- 
main. Almost all of the cowmen had a code 
of ethics, founded upon their word of honor, 
which was as good and binding as far as they 
were concerned as a contract drawn up in writ- 
ing by some noted lawyer and signed before a 
notary public. 

Glidden made his first barbed wire by using 
an old-fashioned coffee mill with which he 
twisted the wires together, inserting the barbs 
at intervals between the wires as he turned the 
crank on the mill. Ranchers and cattlemen as a 
whole were opposed to this wire from the start, 
for they reasoned that this wire would cut their 
cattle and horses to pieces. Animals would 
become infected with the dreaded screw- worms; 
and way back in their minds they could fore- 
see the end of the open range. And it is hard 
for any class of men to give up freedom and a 
livelihood they had been engaged in all of their 
lives. However, there was no doubt of the 
Great Plains needing some kind of a fencing 
material as lumber of any source was many 
miles away. Railroads were scarce and this 
made necessary long freight hawls drawn by 



170 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

oxen or mule teams. So it is evident that barb- 
ed wire came about as a result of evolution or a 
necessity, for it was a commodity the new- 
comer could use to establish his boundaries on 
land he had homesteaded or purchased with 
railroad script. Land usually cost around fifty 
cents per acre/ The wire helped to hold his 
stock within certain bounds which it made eas- 
ier for him to look after them. All of this 
helped the rancher to establish his home in a 
new country* 

This same barbed wire caused a law to be 
enacted upon the statute books of the State of 
Texas which has never been repealed. This 
law made it unlawful for a man to carry, on 
his person or his saddle, a pair of wire cutters, 
because when these wire fences began to appear 
on the plains, crossing some well defined cow- 
trails or fencing some watering place off from 
their cattle, that is when old Billy hell started 
popping. In some respects, you could not 
blame them, for it was the cowman and the 
buffalo hunters who had pioneered the country 
and had driven out the Indians by killing off 
their meat supply. The cowmen had driven 
in their herds and established headquarters near 
some permanent source of water, and they felt 
that the range was theirs by right of conquest 
as they had ruled this vast domain for a half 
century or more, and had bought the Great 
Plains with a price of blood, cattle, and money. 
One faction had men riding the range to see 
that the wire was not cut. Another faction had 
men out trying to cut it. 

Half a century has passed on into history 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 171 

since many carloads of this wire were brought 
to the plains of West Texas to be used in fenc- 
ing the large ranches. To San Born and Glid- 
den, credit goes for fencing one of the first 
ranches in the West. A few strands of this 
wire erected in 1875 are still nailed to the post. 
These men bought the old famous Frying Pan 
Ranch, located now on the edge of Amarillo, 
Texas, enclosing it with barbed wire. F9 ur 
strands were strung upon posts by unwilling 
cowboys who had been used to nothing hereto- 
fore but the open range. Sweating, cursing, 
tugging, tearing clothes and flesh with these 
vicious barbs, they were ready to inflect a 
wound on man or beast. It is not hard to im- 
agine how they felt. The open range and free- 
dom they had enjoyed for many years was slip- 
ping into the past. In its place, they could 
look eastward and see the covered wagons com- 
ing one after the other as far as the eyes could 
see with the hated nester who turned the grass 
upside down with his plow. They fought it 
just like we fight for freedom of the press and 
other states rights which we are allowing to be 
taken away from us gradually by scheming 
politicians and men with dictator minds. I hope 
and pray that we, in America, do not lose like 
these grand old cowmen and cowboys of old 
lost their open cattle range. This vast range 
or domain was one of the last to fall before the 
inroads of progress, for in the migration of the 
early eighties, most of the wagon trains follow- 
ed the Oregon Trail which went west from St. 
Joseph, Missouri, to the Pacific states. 

The Southern trail ran west from San An- 



172 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

tonio, Texas, through the pass in the Davis 
Mountains of West Texas, or the Big Bend dis- 
trict, on through southern New Mexico, Ari- 
zona, and southern California. All the vast 
Plains Country from Oklahoma west and south 
to the T. P. Railroad was overlooked; and be- 
sides, when I was a boy, the plains of West 
Texas or Panhandle was called the Llano Esta- 
cado or Great American Desert* This name 
has been hard to live down. People of today 
won't even believe what we have in the West 
until they come and see for themselves. 

I don't think I can recall ever having known 
a cowman that was a habitual drunkard. On 
the other hand, I can't recall having known one 
that would not take a social drink. No doubt 
there was, and are, many who have never in- 
dulged in intoxicants at all, but my experience 
has been that a cattleman or cowboy that won't 
take an occasional drink is just about as scarce 
as hen's teeth. My philosophy of life is that 
all things are put here on this earth for some 
purpose, if we can find out what that pur- 
pose is. The fer-de-lance snake of South Amer- 
ica is one of the most poisonous species in ex- 
istence. Its venom coagulates the blood which 
causes instant death. Scientific medical research- 
ers have found that by making a serum or 
drug from this poison, they can inject small 
quantities of this into the blood stream of a 
patient that is a hemophilic (bleeder) whose 
blood will not coagulate and the victim's 
blood vessel walls which are often too weak to 
hold the blood will become stronger. Strych- 
nine is a violent poison. In small doses it is a 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 173 

fine medicine if used where it is needed. Cocaine 
enables me to extract your tooth without pain, 
the eye doctor to pull your eye out of its socket, 
turn it around, pick some foreign object out, 
and replace it without pain. Wrongfully 
used, it will reduce its victim lower than the 
beasts of the forest. But our all-wise Creator 
gave man a brain and told him his body was 
holy, cautioning him not to abuse it, remind- 
ing him that he was made in the image of God* 
We can be intemperate in all things, which 
brings to my mind a western story on intem- 
perance told to me by Uncle Charlie Jones, an 
old western cowman who had helped to fight 
the old Apache Indian warrior Geronimo who 
went on the warpath in western New Mexico 
and Arizona in the eighties. 

Uncle Charlie owned a saloon in San Angelo 
in the early days. He said one Saturday night 
that the marshal picked a cowboy up for be- 
ing drunk and threw him in the calaboose. The 
cow-waddy made bond and hired himself a 
young lawyer who had recently moved to town* 
This young attorney proved to be a shrewd 
lawyer. He questioned his client who stated 
that he was not drunk. He admitted he had 
been drinking, but said he had only drunk 
several bottles of beer denied emphatically 
that he was drunk at the time he was arrested. 
This young lawyer got for a witness an old 
Dutchman named Schultz, who was a large 
man weighing around three hundred pounds. 
Everyone knew him to be a very heavy beer 
drinker. He put this Dutchman on the stand 
and proceeded with testimony and questions: 



174 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

"Mr* Schultz, do you drink beer?" 

"Yes." 

"Mr. Schultz, how long have you been 
drinking beer?" 

"I have drunk beer practically all of my life/' 

"Mr* Schultz, how many glasses of beer 
have you drunk in one day?" 

"Oh, I imagine some days I have drunk as 
many as seventy or perhaps seventy-five glass- 
es/' 

"Mr* Schultz, do you think a man could get 
drunk on beer?" 

"Oh, I don't know; but I suppose if he want- 
ed to make a hog of himself, he could!" 

"Case dismissed/' 

Old time cow customs or hospitality was 
that any stranger who came to the wagon or 
the ranch house was fed and no questions asked. 
If the stranger said his name was Bill or Arkan- 
sas Smith, it was accepted as such* As for the 
stranger paying for the meal or night's lodging, 
such a thing was never heard of* Another 
custom when you were going across the 
country and came to a cow outfit or ranch home 
about night and no one was there you went 
right in and made yourself at home. You fed 
your horse, cooked your supper and breakfast, 
washed the dishes, and went on your way re- 
joicing, for the latch string always hung on 
the outside of the door. No one ever thought 
about locking the house. It was very unusual 
for anything to be stolen. A cow-waddy might 
brand mavericks, but steal chickens, never. No 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 175 

one but negroes did that. He had many faults 
but petty thievery certainly was not one of 
them. In days of long ago, when practically 
all of Texas was a cow country, the old time 
cattlemen and others of that time and age 
thought a great deal of their word. In fact, I 
can remember when a man's word was his 
bond. I was reared to never give a promise 
or tell a man anything I did not intend to do. 
Persons with this born and bred into them, 
may be hard to exact a promise from, but when 
they give it, they will usually keep it. Great 
sums of money were often loaned by one man 
to another with no note or mortgage of any 
kind except the borrower's word that he would 
repay same on a certain date or time. Of course 
pur modern bankers would call that poor or 
inefficient banking business. Our banking 
system of today requires a man to give security 
when procuring a loan that binds him up to 
where they can take the security and then have 
a margin of safety if the worst comes to the 
worst. 

I know a grand old man of the South who 
is an old Confederate veteran living in Gaines- 
ville, Texas. D. T. Lacey is now ninety-three 
years of age. He owned a large ranch for many 
years and was in the active banking business for 
over fifty years. When I was a very young 
man, he loaned me $2,500 on my note with 
no security other than the good name which I 
inherited from honest, respectable parents. This 
same man later, when some of the adversities of 
life had overtaken me, stayed with me to the 
bitter end. I finally paid him every dollar, 



176 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

with interest, that I owed him. This amounted 
to a rather large sum of money. Not many 
years ago, he told me that for over fifty years 
of his life he had loaned money on character 
and honor of men, and it can be said to his 
credit his bank never failed. If men lose con- 
fidence in each other and demand unreasonable 
security, how is the banker going to collect his 
note, especially if there is no honor or good 
name back of the security? Not many years 
past our banking system got into a terrible 
condition through no cause whatever save lack 
of confidence. I have known many honest 
men to pay their just debts many years later 
when all security had been wiped out. Con- 
ditions change along with the times. I will 
agree that no banker or anyone can lend money 
today the way the old timer loaned his money, 
a long time ago. 

All this reminds me of the story of four men 
of different nationalities who were discussing 
who was the smartest man in the world. The 
American said George Washington, the French- 
man Napoleon, the German Bismarck; but the 
last one was a Jew who up to that time had 
said nothing, so they all turned to him and 
wanted to know his opinion. One thought he 
would probably say Abraham or Moses; but 
Ikey said, "Maybe so, maybe so, but, gentle- 
men, the fellow that invented interest wasn't 
any fool/' So the Jew's words are true of to- 
day. They are true in a literal sense, for the 
entire world is hopelessly in debt, from nations 
down to the individual who buys all the modern 
necessities of life on the installment plan, and 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 177 

pays a carrying charge that is nothing but in- 
terest. In many cases, it is usury against which 
the Bible speaks, giving a passage of Scripture 
advising men in business not to charge too high 
a rate of interest. 

Some of our politicians and law makers im- 
pose usury in another form upon us by the 
way of increased taxation. I sometimes won- 
der how we are going to pay the ever increasing 
burden of taxation. Our Bible tells us that the 
governments of all nations will impose taxa- 
tion upon the people until it will become un- 
bearable. Fear and lack of confidence has 
spread from the individual to all nations. Of 
the billions of dollars that kind, generous- 
hearted Uncle Sam lent to help the nations 
of Europe in their endeavor to make the world 
safe for democracy, only one nation has paid 
or is paying, and that one is Finland. 

I am getting away from the old time cattle- 
man, but I have related these stories to bring 
to the reader's mind the change in conditions 
that forced the old time free range cowman 
into ranches with fenced and set boundaries. 
I am trying to show briefly what the changes 
in this country have brought about in men, 
conditions, and times, and the effect these 
changed conditions have on this modern age of 
radios, automobiles, electric refrigeration, and 
other improvements. Did you ever stop to 
think that we have commercialized and taxed 
practically everything but the air that we 
breathe? It would not surprise me if some 
bright politician should introduce a bill into 
the legislature to meter our noses. The old 



178 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

timer or cattleman was not hampered with all 
of this legislation. I have been told that there 
are more than five hundred and fifty game 
laws in the state of Texas alone, A fellow needs 
a lawyer along with him when he goes hunting, 
and he would need a truck to haul all the law 
books, for no attorney would be smart enough 
to know all the laws you might break or violate 
while out trying to enjoy some of the beauties 
of nature and wild life that we are blessed with* 
The cowman, in the early day, made his own 
laws* At one time the six-shooter was the law 
in the Southwest, and the vigilante committee 
dealt out justice* 

In the early day, a horse was about the most 
important thing in existence to almost every- 
one, for practically all traveling was done with 
horses, by stage, buggy, or horseback A horse 
thief was about the lowest down breed of out- 
laws that the cowman and early day pioneer 
people had to contend with. These old cow- 
men had a way of dealing with the horse thief 
which was usually quite satisfactory* They 
would make sure they had the right man and 
then a neck-tie party would occur which would 
finish that particular horse thief* When a 
boy, I used to see many trees which old timers 
said had been used to hang as many as five 
horse thieves on* One large tree was still stand- 
ing not many years ago about five miles from 
where I was reared, in Cooke County, where 
three horse thieves were hanged* Of course 
this practice was primitive. They were taking 
the law into their own hands, but it soon put 
a stop to horse stealing. The God-fearing, 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER ^9 

honest folks had to band themselves together 
against predatory man as well as animals. When 
a man went bad, they usually treated him with 
the same justice they would a varmint that was 
preying on their stock* 

A few years after the invention of barbed 
wire, one of the largest leases ever consummat- 
ed was a deal for what was known as the Big 
Pasture which contained approximately one 
million two hundred thousand acres of land. 
It was about twenty-five miles southwest of 
Lawton, Oklahoma, and ran to Red River, the 
Texas line. This tract of land was leased from 
three tribes of Indians who owned the land, 
dealing through the Department of the Interior, 
in the year 1886, when Lamar was secretary. 
This deal was made by three large Texas cattle- 
men who paid six cents per acre for the land for 
the first six years and ten cents per acre there- 
after until it was sold to settlers in 1901. I 
remember quite well when this land was put 
on the market, for we were living in Caddo 
County, Oklahoma, about nine miles north of 
Old Fort Cobb, and not over fifty miles north 
of the Big Pasture. This tract of land was 
divided by three Texas ranchers or companies, 
into three pastures of four hundred thousand 
acres each. 

One was used by Captain Burk Burnett who 
died on June 27, 1922, honored and respected 
by all who knew him. He was one of Ameri- 
ca's leading cattlemen and hailed from Denton 
County, Texas. This man was the father of 
Tom Burnett who died at Iowa Park in Decem- 
ber, 1938, at the age of sixty-seven. Captain 



180 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

Burnett, established the famous 6666 brand. 
Tradition tells us he made a big winning in a 
poker game with four sixes, and he decided to 
use this as his brand. The writer has visited 
in Tom Burnett's home and on this occasion, 
he showed Mr. Burnett the leather carving of 
the late Will Rogers. His comment was typical 
of the old West Texas cowman. He looked 
at it a few minutes and said: "Damn, boy, that 
sure is good of old Will. Believe me, it's damn 
good." Tom Burnett's brand was a triangle. 
The famous four six brand is still run on one of 
Texas' largest ranches in King County, which 
originally consisted of around 286,000 acres. 

Dan Waggoner and son, running the famous 
D D D brand, used another four hundred thou- 
sand acres of the Big Pasture. The Sugg Broth- 
ers, Calvin and J. D., whose brand was OH 
Triangle, used the remaining four hundred 
thousand acres. Calvin died in 1902 and J. D. 
had a large ranch near San Angelo when he 
died in 1925. Both of these men are buried 
at Gainesville, Texas, where I practiced dentis- 
try for eight years. A nephew of these old 
cattlemen, Tilman Sugg, lives in Lubbock, 
Texas, now at the age of sixty-five, and is 
known by the writer quite well. He worked 
on this large ranch as a boy. He said his Uncle 
Cal built over three hundred miles of four-wire 
fence, cross-fencing the land into different pas- 
tures. 

Practically all of the cattle run on this mil- 
lion two hundred thousand acres were of the 
old Texas longhorn type. There are no authen- 
tic records of just how long the South Texas 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 181 

steers horns would grow, but there are plenty 
of authentic measurements of steer horns as 
long as nine feet, seven inches, from tip to tip. 
Most authorities are agreed that the older the 
steer, the longer his horns are. They continued 
to grow in length many years after the steer 
had reached maturity. The Big Pasture at one 
time supported around one hundred and twenty 
thousand head of grown cattle, and twenty 
thousand head of stock or saddle horses, not 
counting the many head of deer and antelope 
that roamed the range in large numbers. There 
were also plenty of wild turkeys, prairie chick- 
ens, and quail by the millions. All this game 
is now gone except the quail. The Wichita 
mountain game refuge close to old Fort Sill has 
preserved some of these old longhorns, deer, and 
buffalo. Practically all of the game is gone 
from this region as it is now used as farming 
land. You can find a small remnant of quail 
in some localities. 

Tradition tells us that Frank James, the 
brother of Jesse James, came back into the 
country in and around the Wichita Mountains 
looking for forty thousand dollars worth of 
gold they had buried there when this country 
was all open range. The country had settled 
up and changed so much he was never able to 
locate the exact spot where they buried the gold 
after one of their train robberies. There is a 
great deal of difference in going across a coun- 
try by the North Star or from one watershed 
to another with nothing but nature's growth 
upon the land, and then going back when it is 



182 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

all fenced into section lines, having to follow 
these lines across the country. 

This Big Pasture composed lands that were 
owned by three tribes of Indians: the Coman- 
ches, Kiowas, and the Apaches. At that time 
Geronimo was chief of the Apaches. He had 
been brought from Arizona and placed in Fort 
Sill for safe-keeping, for he was of a war-like 
nature and started trouble every time the op- 
portunity arose. Tabanaker was chief of the 
Kiowa tribe. Quanah Parker was chief of the 
Comanche Indians and was a life-long friend 
of the Burnetts. Quanah Parker's mother was 
a white woman who was stolen as a little girl 
from Limestone County, Texas, by the Co- 
manche Indians. Her name was Cynthia Ann 
Parker. 

Captain S. B. Burnett was one of the first to 
recognize the fact that the big Texas ranchers 
were losing the open range to the men of the 
plow. The leasing of the Big Pasture was the 
last big project in ranching on a large scale in 
Oklahoma or the old Indian territory. When 
the Indian's lands were placed on the market, 
he came back to Texas and established his large 
ranch in King County, on the Tom Burnett 
ranch headquarters west of Wichita Falls, 
Texas, where he started with a dugout and 
house on the site of the present one which has 
housed four generations of the Burnett family. 
This ranch headquarters is a monument to 
West Texas, and an achievement of the cattle 
industry and the family that have been in the 
cow business on a large scale for over seventy 
years, starting from the close of the Civil War. 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 183 

Its entire modernity is a tribute to the ability of 
a cowman to reverse the old order of the open 
range and replace it with the elements of the 
new. Past this ranch site in Wichita County 
have flown four generations of Texans on 
horseback, in livery rigs, in private conveyances, 
in prairie schooners, and in 'link and pin/' in 
Fort Worth and Denver Railroad emigrant 
cars, and in the long, slick automobiles of to- 
day. Times and conditions have changed, but 
there are still many large ranches in Texas that 
will never be turned under, for the land is not 
suitable for farming purposes. 

The Great Plains at one time, was a ranch- 
man's paradise. One of its most noted cattle- 
men was Colonel Chas. Goodnight. He 
ranched in the Palo Duro canyon country or 
the headwaters of Red River, on the northern 
plains of West Texas. His brand was J. A. 
He established a large herd of buffalo from a 
few orphan calves that his wife reared on a 
bottle. These calves were the remnants of the 
great slaughter of the plains buffalo. He lived 
to be around ninety years of age and passed on 
only a few years ago. He was loved, admired 
and respected by everyone. In his active ranch- 
ing days he was a friend of the Indians and 
usually got along with them, for he understood 
their ways and respected their rights. 

The Plains Country has been called the 
country or land of the wide-open spaces, where 
you climb for water, dig for wood, and hitch 
your horse to a hole in the ground. Most of the 
water comes from wells over which is a wind- 
mill. [A mesquite tree usually has more wood 



184 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

or roots under the ground than on top, for fire, 
drouth, and grazing cattle will destroy much 
of the top foliage. In extremely dry years mes- 
quite brush will thrive, bloom, and bear many 
pods of beans that are nine or ten inches long 
and from two up to as many as ten in a cluster. 
Horses and cattle will stay fat on these beans 
when grass is very poor. In fact, a mesquite 
tree or bush does not do so well in wet weather* 
It is distinctly a dry weather plant. You can 
take a long lariat, tie a knot on the end of it 
placing this knot in a small hole a few inches 
deep in the hard ground, tramp the dirt around 
it with your foot, and your horse can hardly 
pull it up. You can see farther and see less on 
the plains, relatively speaking, than any place 
on earth, but the Lord never put all these mil- 
lions of acres of fine, level, rich soil on the 
plains for nothing. Time has proved that it is 
a better farming country than it was a cow 
country. Cattle need brakes or protection in the 
winter, when the cold winds blow with noth- 
ing to break the wind but a barbed wire fence. 
I have attended round-up on the old Rowe 
Ranch as a boy when I was working for the 
YOU that was owned by a man named 
Johnston, who lived in Dallas, Texas. The 
brand of the Rowe Ranch was R O. This ranch 
consisted at that time of around two hundred 
and thirty-five sections of land. They now 
own and control close to two hundred thou- 
sand acres. Mr. Rowe was an Englishman, 
and used to tell a story on himself. He said 
over in England he was Lord Rowe; when he 
got to America, he immediately became Mr. 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 185 

Rowe; and when he got out on the ranch, he 
was that "damned old bald-headed fool/' This 
man was drowned on the Titanic that was sunk 
by an iceburg in the North Atlantic in 1912. 
This man and Colonel Goodnight were friends 
and neighboring ranchers. 

Many stories are told on the English and 
Scotch syndicates that owned large ranches in 
Texas years ago. I have seen many steers 
branded with the old Rocking Chair brand that 
covered the entire side of an animal, and was 
shaped like the side view of a rocking chair. 
This ranch was located mostly in Collingsworth 
County, Texas, and owned by a Scotch syn- 
dicate. A story is told of them buying a large 
bunch of cattle. The sellers had to account to 
the foreign representative in charge who came 
over here to receive and pay for the cattle. They 
had only about one-third of the amount of cat- 
tle the Syndicate wanted to buy, so they placed 
the buyer at the foot of a large knoll or round 
hill that covered about a section of land, and 
drove the same bunch of cattle past him several 
times. Of course, they had them all strung out 
which made it possible for this feat to be ac- 
complished. These western cowmen no doubt 
taught these foreigners a lesson or two in order 
to bring them down to earth. 

I heard an Englishman ask a cow-waddy 
in McLean, Texas, to hold his horse for him 
when he rode into town from the Rowe Ranch. 
This cowboy told him in no uncertain terms, 
he could go to where they did not shovel 
snow; then he stalked off, leaving the English- 
man talking to himself. Another story is told 



186 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

of an Englishman that came over here and 
visited a large ranch which he no doubt had 
an interest in. Anyway, he said the cowboys 
were such funny people. They gave him a 
trained horse to ride that kept pitching him 
up and catching him, and the bally brute 
finally forgot to catch him. No doubt, there 
were a bunch of cow-waddies rolling in the 
dust with mirth while this show was going 
on. There must be a very strong attraction 
about ranch life and the beneficial results ob- 
tained from living thereon. No life contrib- 
utes to the long activity of a man like the great 
outdoors. 

Jake Rains is around seventy-five years of 
age and has worked for the Swenson's or the 
Spur Ranch for sixty years. He is known as an 
outside man and most of his life has been spent 
at chuck wagons and cow-camps. Mr. J. H. 
Gilmore, recently deceased, worked for the 
Spur Ranch around fifty years. His son is now 
foreman of one outfit on this range. I made 
the old cowboy a set of dentures several years 
before he passed on. Many of these old time 
cow-waddies have been patients of mine in the 
past. An old time cowboy passed on a few 
years ago at the age of 105. His name was 
Smith, and he worked for one outfit on the 
North Plains for over forty years without 
drawing a pay check. He was active and rode 
the range practically every day until he passed 
the century mark. He was like one of the family 
and would go to town or a cattlemen's con- 
vention once or twice a year and write checks 
on the old man, "his boss/' for whatever he 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 187 

needed to tide him over for another year. There 
must be something about sour-dough bread, 
and outdoor range life that makes a man live 
to a ripe old age. 

Sour-dough bread brings your old time 
chuck-wagon cook into the picture. Most 
chuck-wagon meals consist of black coffee, 
strong enough to float an iron wedge, sour- 
dough biscuits, fried meat, usually bacon, stew- 
ed dried fruits, brown beans, and some kind of 
syrup. It is not recorded where many cow- 
pokes ever broke a breach of etiquette around a 
chuck wagon. If you should ask the average 
cowboy about a certain cook, his casual remark 
would be, "Ah he was a danged good cook, 
but contrary as hell /' Well do I remember 
one that I knew* He usually wore an old 
slouch hat and cooked in his undershirt when 
the weather would permit it, using an empty 
flour sack for an apron, and always had several 
days growth of whiskers on his face. He is 
carved upon my leather Round-up carving. 
Many of these old time cooks talked to them- 
selves as men get into the habit of doing who 
work alone, or they would talk to their favor- 
ite chuck- wagon horse or mule, discussing their 
past, present, and future hopes. The mule or 
horse made a good listener, never talking back 
or disagreeing with them like a woman would 
do; maybe that is why most of them were old 
bachelors. They preferred to have a compan- 
ion that would listen rather than one who 
would be forever finding fault and nagging, 
like so many women do. 

One early-day custom in the cattle country 



188 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

in Texas was that as each child was born a 
brand was recorded in his name, and he was 
given a cow to start his herd. Another early- 
day custom of a Texan or early-day cowboy 
was the necessity of being able to ride like a 
Mexican, trail like an Indian, and shoot like a 
Tennesseean. However, it is my personal opin- 
ion that the American Indian was the greatest 
bareback rider in the world, especially the 
Comanche Indian who, as a rule, was raw- 
boned and long legged. Some of these old-time 
cowboys could ride almost any outlaw horse 
that ever roamed the range. My father, in the 
early days in Oklahoma, at a picnic, saw Wal- 
ter Mashoe ride a fair sized pitching wild horse 
and tie a silk handkerchief around each fore leg. 
This same man would bet you money if you 
would hold the horse until he got into the sad- 
dle, placing a five dollar bill under his boots 
in each stirrup, and he would ride the horse 
and never lose either bill. I have seen this man 
ride plenty of bronc horses when I was a boy, 
but I never saw him perform this feat, for he 
would not do it unless there was a wager up 
that he could not ride the horse without los- 
ing the money placed in the stirrups. 

It is rather hard to estimate the exact date 
when the first paid admission rodeo was held, 
but I think it can be truthfully stated it had its 
origin in Texas, and the daddy of it was un- 
doubtedly the cowman. But in the early days 
of Oklahoma there was no charge for admis- 
sion to see wild horses being ridden and calves 
and steers roped It was usually a friendly 
gathering of neighboring ranchers and cow- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER lj 

hands to test each other's skill in riding and 
roping. There were many wagers placed by 
both the men contesting and men that knew 
them to be good, for they had ridden and roped 
with them on the range. It's natural for a 
young cowhand full of life to want to show off 
his skill for the benefit of some lady fair in the 
crowd, or to be acclaimed by his buddies as the 
best rider or roper in his outfit. This is only 
human nature. The rodeo of today is our 
best reminder of the wild frontier or pioneer 
life of the people of the cattle country of the 
Southwest. It draws as large crowds in Texas 
or the Southwest as any place on earth. You 
can sit in a comfortable seat and see riding, rop- 
ing, bull-dogging, and almost everything im- 
aginable that can be done to a cow or horse in a 
show ring* And hear all the old western lingo 
or slang familiar to the West. And when some 
bronc peeler climbs onto the hurricane deck of 
an outlaw horse, you may see him blowing a 
stirrup, coasting, or bicycling. 

Maybe you don't know your rodeo lingo or 
cowpoke talk. Biting the dust is when a cow- 
boy is thrown and is liable to get a mouthful 
of dirt as he lands head first on the ground. 
Pulling leather is grabbing ahold of the horn or 
saddle when a horse is pitching. Blowing a stir- 
rup is losing it, and the judges deducts points. 
All of these irregularities are ruled out. A 
well-made high-heel boot helps the cowboy's 
foot to stick more securely in the stirrup. Bog- 
gin' *em in is the rider failing to scratch his horse 
with his spurs. Bronc rider is a term applied 
to the old time cowboy as a person with a 



190 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

strong back and a weak mind who broke wild 
horses to ride. Bulldogget is a cowboy who 
springs from his horse while running at top 
speed and downs a grown steer by grabbing 
him by the horns and twisting his neck until 
the steer lies down. This feat was first per- 
formed by a negro in Mexico, and was far more 
brutal than bull-dogging of today. Putting 
'em East and West boys is an expression gen- 
erally shouted by the judges to the cowboys and 
means to spur the horse with the toes pointed 
outward, scratching, spurring the horse back 
and forth, screwing down the rider who 
comes out of the chute with knees clamped 
down tightly, and both spurs digging in. Swal- 
lowing his tail is said when a bronc bucks high, 
wide, and handsome, with his back forming 
a dangerous curve and his head down between 
his forefeet, with his tail between his hind feet. 
Many other expressions are used around a 
rodeo, but the ones quoted will give you some 
idea of rodeo lingo. 

It takes a particular breed of men to be suc- 
cessful in rodeo work, just as the quarter-horse 
makes one of the best cow-horses. Most rodeo 
champions are tall, raw-boned men, quick as 
a panther when it leaps on its prey. A well 
trained horse and man work with almost one 
mind in any kind of roping contest. Of course, 
it's quite different in bronc riding where the 
man tries to break the will of the horse to his 
command; but practically all of these outlaw 
horses used in rodeo work have been trained 
to pitch with as much persistence as your cut- 
ting horse performs on the range while cutting 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 191 

cattle. Texans predominate in almost all rodeo 
work, not because it is such a large state, but 
because it produces a distinct personality. The 
larger part of the great Southwest acts as a 
training school, turning out men that are 
known the world over as fine riders or horse- 
men with a tenacity of purpose that is unexcel- 
led in the typical Texas cowboy. His heritage 
is somewhat like the Southwestern quarter- 
horse. He is not entered in any stud book, 
but he is of a particular breed that can be easily 
recognized, for he has been bred and reared in 
the cattle country of the great Southwest. 

According to John M. Hendrix, a Fort 
Worth writer, who is well posted on range 
lingo, the first rodeo must have been held on 
the North Plains near Canadian, Texas, in the 
early eighties, between two cow outfits, the 
Laurel Leaf and the Jay Buckle. Each of these 
had two top ropers whom they were ready and 
willing to back to the limit as being able to 
beat the other. They agreed to meet at a desig- 
nated time and settle the issue. Some enter- 
prising merchants heard of the contest and of- 
fered to furnish free barbecue and all the trim- 
mings, if they would hold the contest on July 
the Fourth, which they did. This roping con- 
test was won by Ellison Carroll of the Jay 
Buckle in one minute and two seconds. In later 
years, this man set a record of sixteen seconds 
flat, which stands unbroken to this day. 
Ellison Carroll is still living. The cattlemen of 
Fort Worth recently ran pictures of Carroll in 
their magazine; also pictures of Captain John 
R. Hughes of the Texas Rangers, John Arnot, 



192 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

Bob Beverly, and Ab Blocker; one of the old 
foremen of the old XIT, or Capitol Syndicate. 
The combined ages of these five men who have 
reached the eveningtide of their eventful lives 
and are approaching the last "round-up" of 
their useful careers aggregates a full measure 
of 387 years, and, no doubt, the Southwest is 
a better and safer place in which to live as the 
result of the changes of their time. 

In my opinion, the buffalo hunter, the 
Texas Ranger, and the cattlemen of the South- 
west are on fame's eternal camping ground. It 
goes without comment that the foremost fig- 
ures of all ages have been the horsemen, includ- 
ing those who have worked in the dust of a cat- 
tle herd or on the old trail, or on the long, 
lonely rides of the Texas Rangers on the heels 
of -some law violator. The buffalo hunter 
killed off the buffalo which made it possible 
to tame and civilize the American Plains In- 
dian so that this vast empire could be used for 
cattle. Horsemen have helped to bring about 
changes from that day down to the present, so 
their posterity should never have cause to doubt 
the path of progress they have helped to clear. 

I had over an hour's talk with Captain John 
R. Hughes of the Texas Rangers during the 
Texas Centennial at Dallas. It has been my 
pleasure to know and talk with many of these 
grand old characters of the Southwest. Cap- 
tain Tom Hickman, formerly of the Texas 
Rangers, was reared in Cooke County, Texas. 
I have known him personally for many years, 
as he has been my patient professionally. My 
younger brother, J. O. Maddox, now with the 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 193 

State Highway Patrol, and Tom Hickman were 
together in the Sheriff's Department of Cooke 
County. Hickman went across to England as 
a rodeo judge. He has also judged in Madison 
Square Garden. He is a fine horseman, a fine 
shot, and a fine character. He is still a com- 
paratively young man in this colorful group of 
men who have always stood for law and order. 

A story here will illustrate the kind of ma- 
terial these men were made of. There was a 
riot in an East Texas city and the mayor tele- 
phoned the Governor to send the National 
Guards or a bunch of men to quiet things down 
generally. The citizens met the train and only 
one lone man got off, a Texas Ranger. The 
citizens asked if he was all the law enforce- 
ment the Governor had sent, and he replied: 
"Well, folks, you just have one riot; don't 
you?'' It would be impossible for me to write 
about or even mention all the fine old charac- 
ters that helped to settle the Great Plains after 
the buffalo were practically all killed out, and 
the Indians were pushed back into their reser- 
vations by General Miles. 

Uncle Hank Smith of Crosby County was 
one of the first settlers to come to the plains of 
West Texas* He built the now famous rock 
house in Blanco Canyon, in 1877. He immed- 
iately started a cattle ranch. Colonel Chas. C* 
Goodnight started his ranch in the Palo Duro 
Canyon about the same time. A few years 
after Hank Smith arrived, a man named Paris 
Cox, acting as representative for the Quakers, 
bought fifty thousand acres of plains land for 
farming purposes at twenty-five cents per acre. 



194 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

This land is now worth forty and fifty dollars 
per acre, and is considered one of the best 
farming districts on the plains. These two men 
were responsible for starting the trek that turn- 
ed the Great Plains of Texas from a great open 
grassy plain and cowman's paradise into a great 
farming country, and changed the old time cow- 
boy's posterity into drug store cowboys. There 
is some kind of an inner-born urge or desire for 
the average boy or youngster to want to play 
cowboy. Our western ranches act as hostesses 
to a great number of people every year. And 
every summer eastern guests spend something 
like three million dollars in being entertained, 
or for the privilege of associating with and be- 
coming a part of western atmosphere of the 
great cow country, where the air is pure and 
"the skies are not cloudy all day/' If you have 
ridden the Western Plains with a good horse as 
a companion, or followed the North Star as 
your guide on some still, moonlight night across 
some large ranch, with nothing to disturb your 
thoughts but the squeaking of the fine leather 
in your saddle, or if you have been lost on some 
dark cloudy night and have given old Faith- 
ful his head, putting your mind at ease because 
you knew he would soon stop before the gate 
that led to the ranch house if you have done 
these things you know there is a peculiar fas- 
cination or something about it all that is in- 
describable. You may leave it but I wager 
you my last dollar you will want to come back 
where you will be able to visualize and have 
impressed on your mind a picture of that great 
vastness that is our own Southwest. There are 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

activities, ideals and dreams here which make 
the Lone Star State and the great Southwest 
places one never forgets. So it's boots, a saddle, 
and a bucking cayuse for me while here on this 
earth; and when I die you can bury me " 'neath 
the Western skies on the lone prairie/' And if 
you should saunter up to a leather-faced old 
time cow-waddy and repeat the following cow- 
boy poem to him while the embers in the camp 
fire are burning low, I would venture to say 
that he will reply, "Them's my sentiments ex- 
actly, pardner; they shore are. Boy! it's get- 
ting drier than hell down our way; we shore 
could use a good rain/' 

MAKE ME A COWBOY AGAIN FOR A DAY 

Backward, turn backward, oh, Time with your wheels, 

Airplanes, wagons and automobiles; 

Dress me once more in the sombrero that flaps, 

Spurs and flannel shirt, slicker and chaps. 

Put a six-shooter or two in my hand, 

Show me a yearling to rope and to brand. 

Out where the sage brush is dusty and gray, 

Make me a cowboy again for today. 

Give me a bronco that knows how to dance, 
Buckskin of color and wicked in his glance, 
New to the feeling of bridle and the bits, 
Give me a quirt that will sting where it hits. 
Strap on the poncho behind in a role, 
Pass me the lariat, dear to my soul, 
Over the trail let me gallop away, 
Make me a cowboy again for a day. 

Thunder of hoofs on the range as you ride, 
Hissing of iron and smoking of hide, 
Bellow of cattle and snort of cayuse, 
Longhorns from Texas as wild as the duce, 



196 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

Midnight stampede and the milling of herds, 
Yells of the cowmen too angry for words. 
Right in the thick of it I would stay, 
Make me a cowboy again for today. 

Under the star-studded canopy vast, 
Campfire and coffee and comfort at last; 
Bacon that sizzles and crisp in the pan, 
After the round-up smells good to a man. 
Stories of ranches and rustlers retold, 
Over the pipes as the embers grow cold 
These are the times that old memories play, 
Make me a cowboy again for today. 

Author Unknown 



THE AMERICAN INDIAN AND THE 
BUFFALO 



When the first settlers from Europe began 
to colonize this country, they found it inhabit- 
ed by roving bands of Indians almost as wild 
and independent of our modern ways of living 
as the plains buffalo or bison. We find the 
Indians' nomadic life depended to a great ex- 
tent on game; and he considered this game a 
part of his heritage. It was essential to his 
welfare and meant the difference between plen- 
ty and starvation. America, up to the time 
the railroads started building across the United 
States, was a great game paradise, literally 
speaking, for it had buffalo, deer, and antelope 
by the multiplied millions. The deer family 
is well distributed to all parts of the United 
States. This made it possible for the Indian of 
the coastal and wooded countries to still have 
plenty of game for food and buckskin for 
clothing. In the forest regions, they still hunt- 
ed the deer with bow and arrow. The Indian 
was a natural born tracker and a master in 
woodcraft. Fleet of foot, he had no trouble in 
procuring all the venison he wanted for the 
tribe. It can truthfully be said to his honor 

197 



198 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

and credit that he never killed wantonly, like 
the white man. The Indian killed only what 
game he needed for food and clothing. In some 
respects, he was like many predatory animals, 
killing only what he needed to sustain life, or 
supply his needs, for he reasoned that with an 
abundance of game he would never go hungry. 
It is with the descendants of the Plains Indians 
that I am more familiar, and the tribes of the 
great Southwest or the Five Civilized Tribes 
that lived in Oklahoma when I was a boy. The 
discussion of these will form the principal part 
of my narrative. 

With the introduction of the horse into 
America, the Plains Indian took to him as 
natural as the negro of the South took to the 
mule. In the horse the Indian had a perfect 
animal to assist him in his hunting expeditions 
of the plains buffalo; and it was this shaggy 
beast that provided the Indian with every ne- 
cessity of life. He used the hides for tepees or 
wigwams and clothing, and the carcass for 
food. History and tradition tell us the Indian 
always killed the buck deer and the bull buf- 
falo when possible. And in my carving of 
Indians and buffaloes, you will note he is chas- 
ing the males. Buffalo are somewhat like cattle 
by nature and when the breeding season is 
over, the males will congregate together peace- 
fully* This fact can be easily verified on any 
ranch during the late fall and winter months. 
Buck deer run in droves to themselves also, 
especially during the fall of the year which is 
naturally considered the hunting season even 
of the modern white man of today. In some 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 199 

respects the Indian revered the game for which 
he thanked the Great Spirit for giving him 
successful hunting expeditions. He considered 
it a heritage handed down to him and he 
killed only the males except in cases of dire 
necessity; much like the mountain lion which 
kills only males except on rare occasions* An 
Arizona lion hunter examined the carcasses 
of around twenty-four hundred deer which 
were killed by mountain lions, and found only 
three carcasses of does. So our all-wise Creator 
must have endowed the mountain lion with 
the same instinct that he gave to the Indian in 
order to preserve his future breakfast; for it 
has been proved beyond any doubt that even 
in thickly populated countries where much of 
hunting is permitted, deer will gradually in- 
crease in number so long as the bucks only are 
killed. 

We are indebted to the Indian for many 
commodities of everyday life, as well as food. 
The Indian gave us corn, it being a native plant 
of Central America. Columbus took corn back 
to Europe with him. It was cultivated chiefly 
by the aborigines of Central and North Ameri- 
ca, chiefly by the squaws of the tribe. The 
potato is also a native of Chile and Peru and 
was cultivated extensively by our American 
Indians even before America was discovered. 
Sir Walter Raleigh is said to have brought the 
potato from Virginia to England in 1585, but 
for more than a century it was cultivated in 
Europe more as a curiosity than as a food. It 
is now one of the most popular of all vegetables 
in the entire world. The Indian also gave us 



200 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

tobacco and we gave him "firewater" (whis- 
key). Of the two, I will have to confess that 
alcohol has ever been his ruination* The Cau- 
casian races seem to assimilate or indulge in in- 
toxicating liquor with less harmful effects than 
the Indian, but the Indian can use tobacco with 
less injurious effects than the white races. The 
Indians were using tobacco when Columbus 
came over. Sir Walter Raleigh and other early 
colonists found them smoking the leaves. They 
also used tobacco in their ceremonial pipe of 
peace, around their council fires. 

The use of tobacco has spread to practically 
all parts of the world. All European countries 
are extensive users of Lady Nicotine. There is 
what is known as an alcoholic belt around the 
world; it is the hot countries where fruit fer- 
ments easily and turns to alcohoL People who 
are natives in this alcoholic belt, do not seem 
to be so suceptible to the injurious effects of 
alcohol as the Nordic races. 

Our American Indian seems to get all the bad 
effects the drug is able to produce rolled up and 
combined in both the injurious effects on his 
physical condition and on his mind* It pro- 
duces a nasty disposition in the individual In- 
dian. He seems to enjoy the effects liquor 
produces on his mind, of putting him into 
dreamland or "happy hunting grounds/' so to 
speak. I well remember Indians talking about 
going to Anadarko and getting drunk, 
when I was a boy* They looked forward to 
these drunken sprees with great anticipation of 
fun and frolic* Of course, they could not buy 
liquor legally, but if they had the money* some 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 201 

unscrupulous white man would get it to them 
some way. I don't want to convey the idea to 
the reader's mind that all Indians were drunk- 
ards, for many of them knew and realized what 
it would do for them, and were total abstainers. 
On one occasion, Uncle Sid, a neighbor 
named Stevens, and I went to Anadarko one 
Saturday. We didn't get our trading finished 
until after dark. Uncle bought some heavy 
supplies and our conveyance was a wagon 
drawn by two mules. We had not got far from 
town when here came two Indians on a horse. 
The only thing that prevented trouble that 
night was there happened to be a sober Indian 
riding behind the drunk one, on the same horse, 
trying his best to keep the other one out of 
trouble. The drunk Indian owned the horse 
and was riding in the saddle; that made it hard 
for his friend to do anything with him. Of 
course, he wanted to fight like plenty of drunk 
white men do. He followed us for miles, cur- 
sing and daring anyone to fight him. Uncle 
Sid stopped once and when the Indian got down 
from his horse to fight, he started the mules 
and in that way he kept him following us on 
foot. He finally got back on his horse, and 
here he came again. We repeated the same 
stunt several times. Uncle said that if he could 
get him to walk long enough, he would sober 
up. Mr. Stevens had an old single-barrel shot- 
gun in the wagon and he wanted to shoot the 
Indian and get it over with. He was Irish and 
would fight his shadow. It was all Uncle Sid 
could do to keep Stevens in the wagon and all 
the sober Indian could do to keep his friend on 



202 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

the horse. They must have followed us for an 
hour or more. Finally lagging behind for 
awhile, they then rode up and the sober Indian 
said his friend had sobered up and wanted to 
apologize for the way he had acted. So we all 
stopped and shook hands. The Indian who 
was drinking would have all of us take a drink 
with him, and said he would be our friend until 
the rivers would run dry and the sun fail to 
come up. I expected the Indian to produce a 
pipe from somewhere and hand it around for 
all of us to smoke, but he didn't. As to the 
whiskey, I only touched it to my tongue. It 
came near to burning the end of it off, and I 
thought the Indians had named the stuff right, 
"firewater," The Indian likes the effect of 
whiskey. The drinker that likes the effect of 
alcohol is the one that makes the drunkard. 
Some of the worst drunkards I have ever known 
have to hold their noses to take a drink. All of 
my people like the taste of whiskey and there 
is not even a moderate drinker on either side of 
the family. 

When a boy, I went to many Indian baseball 
games. They were wonderful players, very 
hard to beat unless you get them rattled or ex- 
cited. Their open outdoor life makes them fine 
athletes. When we first moved to Oklahoma 
in 1900, the government had built many nice, 
small homes in Anadarko for the old full- 
bloods. They also had several nice Indian 
schools there. Some of their families may have 
occupied these houses, but the old full-bloods 
would build themselves a brush arbor in the 
yard, and that is where they would sleep the 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 203 

year round. They could not get away from the 
fact that they had hunted and slept under the 
stars for so many years. It was practically im- 
possible for them to change to the white man's 
way of living. Time has proved they used 
good judgment in doing this, for the Indian was 
not accustomed to the white man's ways and 
was very susceptible to the white man's dis- 
eases. Smallpox in 1816 played havoc with 
the Comanche tribe. And worst of all was the 
great white plague, tuberculosis, which the In- 
dian seems never to be able to survive. We all 
know that plenty of sunshine and pure air is 
one of the best preventives for this disease. You 
can even prolong life many years with the dis- 
ease by living in a dry country and staying out 
in the open as much as possible. 

Our American Indians have been mistreated 
almost as much as the Jews. You know the 
Bible tells us of the lost tribe of Israel. The 
next time you see an Indian, take a good look 
at his nose and profile, and then look at the 
Jew; you will be surprised; here is food for 
thought. Understand I am not saying that our 
American Indians are the lost tribe of Israel; 
your guess is as good as mine; but they lived a 
nomadic life, moving from camp to camp some- 
what like the Israelites of old did when they 
wandered forty years in the Wilderness. The 
Arabs are said to be descendants of the Israelites; 
the old Moors were descendants of the Arabs; 
and the Southwest is indebted to the Moors and 
Arabs for the art of leather carving; so we can 
trace all peoples and nations back to the twelve 
sons of Jacob or Israel. 



204 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

When the Indian's blood is crossed with the 
Caucasian or white race, he soon becomes a 
part of that race. He is not like the negro. As 
long as there is any negro blood in your veins 
you are still a negro. I have many friends that 
are quarterbred, sixteenth, and eighth Indian 
and you would perhaps never know it unless 
they told you, for you would have to be a very 
close observer to ever recognize any Indian blood 
in them at all. Some of our greatest characters 
and statesmen had Indian blood from one of the 
Five Civilized Tribes, such men as Will Rogers, 
who was an eighth part Cherokee. Senator 
Owens of Oklahoma is part Indian, and for- 
mer Vice-President Curtis under Hoover has 
Kaw Indian blood in his veins. There are many 
others too numerous to mention. Take our own 
father of Texas, Sam Houston, who was the 
first president of the Republic of Texas and 
later our first Governor; he was a great friend 
of the Indians; he championed their cause be- 
fore Congress; was later adopted by the Chief 
Oolocteks; lived with the Indians at one time; 
and was formerly adopted as a member of the 
Cherokee Nation. The Indians' ancestors didn't 
come over on the Mayflower, but as Will 
Rogers once said "They met them/' 

The Five Civilized Tribes that were moved to 
Oklahoma, consisted of the Cherokee Nation, 
the Choctaw Nation, the Chickasaw Nation, 
the Creek Nation, and the Seminole Nation. 
The Cherokee Indians belong to the Iriquois 
family whose chief habitat was the basin of the 
St. Lawrence River, in and around New York 
State. Of all Indian families they were con- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 205 

sidered the most war-like. History awards 
them a place of bravery in the French and In- 
dian Wars. The Cherokee Indians of Oklahoma 
are descendants of the tribes that were driven 
out of the western portion of the Carolinas, 
eastern Tennessee, and northern Georgia, or 
what is known as the Great Smoky Mountain 
region of the Appalachian Mountains. Stories 
of the hardships that the Five Civilized Tribes 
endured in their long trek to their new land in 
Oklahoma the land the white man had select- 
ed for them could be written and the half 
never be told. Tradition rightfully calls it the 
"trail of tears/' 

History tells us of many famous Indian 
chiefs that were fine soldiers on the field of 
battle, using much strategy in their attacks. 
The Indian fought his wars with the same adage 
in mind as Marion, sometimes called the Swamp 
Fox of the Revolutionary War: "He who 
fights and runs away will live to fight another 
day/' Chief Tecumseh of the Shawnee tribe was 
a warrior in the War of 1812, and held 
the rank of Brigadier General in the English 
army. Tradition tells us that he was a man 
who possessed all the native dignity of the In- 
dian; on one occasion he met General Harrison 
for a conference, an interpreter motioned him to 
a seat near the General saying, "Your Father 
requests you to take a seat by him/' Tecumseh 
replied, "The Great Spirit is my Father and I 
will rest on the bosom of my Mother"; and 
drawing his blanket about him with an air of 
offended dignity, he took his seat Indian- 
fashion on the ground. We have Sitting Bull 



206 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

of the Sioux or Dakota Indians, Most of these 
Indians were fine soldiers and of fine physique. 
They made their last stand under Sitting Bull 
in the valley of the Little Big Horn in Montana, 
and wiped out General Custer to the last man 
Tradition tells us that the only living thing 
left was Ouster's horse, Comanche. Then there 
is that fierce old guerrilla warrior Geronimo, 
who was chief of that fierce war-like tribe 
known as the Apaches of the Southwest, who 
gave the settlers considerable trouble a short 
time after the close of the Civil War, in western 
New Mexico and eastern Arizona. This old 
chief died a prisoner at Fort Sill in 1909. His 
son, now sixty-three years of age, is ranching 
near Lordsburg, New Mexico. He recently 
proved-up on a homestead, which probably 
made the old Chief turn over in his grave. 

The Dakota, Sioux, or Plains Indians had 
names of their own for the months of the year, 
which will give you some insight into the In- 
dian's habits and character. He lived close to 
nature and read signs and changes in the seasons 
by the things which he saw manifested by 
natural conditions. January was known as hard 
month, maybe on account of the crusty snow 
and ice; February, raccoon month, because on 
bright, sunshiny days raccoons came out; 
March, sore eyes month, because the dazzling 
snow and smoke from their tepees caused sore 
eyes, even blindness; April, goose laying month, 
for wild geese arrived; May, planting month, 
the squaws planted corn; June, strawberry 
month, probably named by the children; July, 
choke-cherry month; August, harvest month, 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 207 

corn; September, rice- gathering month; Octo- 
ber, deer month, hunting, after the fall of the 
leaves; November, deer shedding antlers month; 
December, drying corn month. 

Despite the fact that our government broke 
treaty after treaty with the Indians, and chang- 
ed their homes from one part of the country to 
another, time and again, the Indians as a whole 
did not break faith with the white man as often 
as the white man broke faith with them. Final- 
ly, Uncle Sam decided to move the Five Civiliz- 
ed Tribes or a greater portion of them to Okla- 
homa, or old Indian Territory, the eastern por- 
tion of the state, where the land was poorest and 
game was scarcest. The poor Indian had a hard 
time eking out a living, or keeping body and 
soul together. The Lord in his wisdom, or the 
Indians' Great Spirit, must have looked on this 
move and smiled with amusement, for in later 
years these poor lands proved to be underlaid 
with black gold, and this oil, or the leases and 
royalties from their lands, made them immense- 
ly wealthy* The government wisely ruled that 
the Indians' lands belonged to the tribe as a 
whole, and each Indian had a headright, and 
so on through the family each individual In- 
dian shared equally in this unforeseen wealth. 

Many are the stories told on the Indian, when 
he came into this sudden wealth. They bought 
fine cars, or almost anything they took a fancy 
to. One old chief bought a fine hearse for his 
wife to ride in. Another story goes about the 
Indian's car stalling near the top of a long hilL 
He got out to push and finally got it to rolling, 
but before he could hop in, it ran off and left 



208 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

him. A white man came along and asked him 
his trouble, and the Indian described the inci- 
dent to his as follows, "No pushie, no pullie. 
Car run like hellie." 

In addition to Uncle Sam's efforts to educate 
the Indian to the ways of the white man, he has 
also attempted to change the Indian's religion. 
The Chinese believe in Buddha which is mere 
ethical code* The Chinese believe in the teach- 
ings of Confucius, and this religion contains 
many fine principles; it is somewhat like our 
Ten Commandments. The tribes or races of the 
Far East and South believe in the teaching of 
Mohammed, and the war cry of the Moslem is, 
''There is no God but Allah/' Their religion 
has many points in common with the Hebrew 
faith. Tradition tells us that the old Moors 
were related to the Arabs, and that the Arabs 
are related to the Israelites. Sometimes it looks 
like all peoples and races of the earth are relat- 
ed in some manner. We of America believe in 
the teachings of Christ, and the Indians believe 
in the "Great Spirit"; each in his own way is 
confident he is right. I talked with a very in- 
telligent lady not many months ago who is a 
quarter-breed Cherokee. Both she and I belong 
to the First Christian Church. She told me of 
talking with a young Pueblo Indian of Arizona 
a few years ago. The Pueblo Indians are sup- 
posed to be sun worshippers. This Indian said 
when rising in the morning the first thing he 
did was to face the sun and thank the Great 
Spirit for letting him live until the dawn of 
another day. That prayer sounds as sweet and 
simple as our children's prayer of "Now I lay 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 209 

me down to sleep/' And who among us is an 
authority to say that the Indian is wrong, or to 
say which prayer is the most acceptable to God? 

This lady also said that her great-great- 
grandmother came in the trek to Oklahoma or 
"trail of tears/' from the Great Smoky Moun- 
tains. This lady's mother also related how 
the Cherokee Indians in the spring or summer 
when in need of rain would give a religious 
ceremonial dance and build a large brush-heap 
fire and keep it burning; their belief was that 
the rain would come within three days and put 
the fire out, I read in last week's paper where 
John (Red Bird) Smith, who is Chief of Police 
of Gore, Oklahoma, laid aside the badge of his 
office long enough to participate in the cere- 
monial rites of the secret clan of the Kee-Too- 
Wah Nighthawks. Member of the clan danced 
the ancient stomp of the Seven Sacred Fires in 
tribute to their tribal heroes of the past. 

This dance is also a reminder of the hard- 
ships their ancestors withstood in 1829 in 
traveling "the trail of tears" from their native 
habitats in north Georgia and the Great Smokys 
to their new home in Oklahoma. The ceremony 
lasts from dusk until daybreak. Kee-Too-Wah 
legend has it that when their forefathers were 
driven from their homes in Georgia by the 
white men, along the path later called the 
"trail of tears/' the clans' seven priests went 
into the mountains to pray for guidance, and 
seven fires were miraculously lighted, and a 
voice commanded that they be kept burning 
always. The Kee-Too-Wahs say this order has 
been carried out. During the ceremony when 



210 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

the fires are lighted, a chieftain will step for- 
ward and give an invocation in Cherokee that 
will eulogize Sequoyah who gave the Cherokees 
their alphabet, or Red Bird Smith, one of the 
tribe's greatest chieftains who died in 1918. 
He was the father of John Red Bird Smith, 
their present leader. 

It is hard for a white man to watch one of 
these celebrations or ceremonies and associate 
the present Cherokee Indians with it, who the 
rest of the year nurture their meager crops, 
working on a co-operative plan so that the poor 
of the tribe will never go hungry. Are we white 
people that loyal to the poor of our race? 

The Hopi Indians of eastern Arizona are 
famous for their handicraft in pottery and bas- 
ket making. These are usually made by the 
women of the tribe. The baskets are usually 
made of stained native grasses and fiber of the 
aloe. The decorations of the earthen wear or 
pottery and the patterns for the baskets each 
have plaques of their own, showing their respec- 
tive significance, as the old men and women of 
the tribe hand down an ancient mythology all 
their own. 

You have perhaps read of the Hopi religious 
ceremonial snake dance which is performed with 
live, deadly rattlesnakes of the desert for the 
sole purpose of producing rain for their parch- 
ed crops; for if rain does not come at a certain 
time, in their dry, desert country, where the 
altitude is high and the growing season is ex- 
tremely short, their corn will wither up and 
not produce. This will mean famine and want 
in their land. A few days before this ceremony 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 211 

is to be performed, the Indian braves take sacks 
and a forked stick and go out over the desert 
gathering up the rattlesnakes* At the same 
time a select few of the squaws go out over the 
desert gathering up roots or herbs of desert 
plants* Only the select few or appointed ones 
know what the plants or herbs consist of* They 
are brought into camp or the village and a large 
pot is brewed from the plants all under the 
supervision of the Medicine Man or religious 
leaders of the tribe* Several hours before the 
braves are to perform this ceremony or religious 
snake dance, they start drinking this brew and 
rubbing it on their bodies well into the skin* 
At the appointed time, with their bodies prac- 
tically naked, they grab up an arm full of snakes 
and dance for a certain period of time with 
both hands full of live wiggling rattlesnakes; 
then they run with them to the edge of the 
desert and throw them down and let them go 
free so that they can carry on their supplication 
to the rain gods* The oldest Indians of the tribe 
will tell you that this ceremony has never failed 
to produce rain as far back as they have any 
recollection* 

I will quote the following from a newspaper 
clipping of 1937: 

"God Answers the Prayers of Hopi Indians. 
Shimopovi, Ariz., Aug. 26. The underground 
Gods of the Hopi people answered prayers of 
the tribesmen, sent rain clouds tonight to drench 
the Indians' withering crops at the conclusion 
of the last of a series of three spectacular snake 
dances* Hardly had the deadly rattlesnakes 



212 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

been loosed to carry the Hopi's supplication to 
the Gods when black clouds began gathering 
over Shimopovi* Soon the Indians* fields were 
soaked with rain, and lightning bolts lashed 
the skies. The devout Indians rejoiced at the 
answer to their prayers and reiterated that not 
in a thousand years had the Gods ignored their 
pleas for rain and a good harvest/' 

Do you recall that passage of Scripture that 
reads, "If you have the faith of a grain of mus- 
tard seed, you can remove yonder mountain"? 
The mind of the Indian is perhaps like the mind 
of a child who never doubts that his prayer 
will be answered* This reminds me of an in- 
cident which occurred in Texas during a dry 
spelL A certain congregation set a day to pray 
for rain* When the time arrived and the crowd 
had assembled, only one little girl had brought 
her umbrella along* The child thought it would 
rain; the rest of the congregation had their 
doubts about it* The Bible says to ask be- 
lieving, and you will receive* That is hard to 
do, for human nature is so full of doubts* Our 
modern surroundings make us that way and 
many times we perhaps ask for things we 
should not have* 

Grandfather used to tell a story about the 
time he was a boy and working for a neighbor* 
They went to a revival meeting one night, and 
on their return the man and wife got to talk- 
ing and said they had not lived right* The 
sermon had been on the passage of Scripture 
about asking and you will receive* The home 
was a large one-room log affair and he heard 
the conversation before he fell to sleep* They 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 213 

decided to ask the Lord for forgiveness of their 
sins and then ask him for some things they 
needed. The prayer ended somewhat like this, 
"Oh Lord send us a barrel of flour, a barrel of 
pork, and a barrel of pepper; oh hell, that is 
too danged much pepper/' Our supplications 
may be out of keeping with our needs. I am 
not making fun of our religion, neither am I 
poking fun at the Indians' religion, whatever it 
may be. Our constitution gives every man the 
right to worship God according to the dictates 
of his conscience. 

Forty-five miles northeast of Sierra Blanca, 
located in what is commonly known as the Big 
Bend of Texas, is an area twelve miles wide 
and thirty miles long covered with nearly pure 
salt. Many skirmishes and battles have been 
fought over this salt. The Bible quotation 
with reference to Lot's wife who looked back 
and turned to a pillar of salt was printed long 
after the Indians of the Southwest traveled long 
journeys on the old salt trails leading to this 
salt supply; and according to legends and tra- 
ditions of the West, it has been the custom of 
the Indians to refrain from looking backward 
after leaving their homes in quest of salt. So 
our American Indians of the Southwest knew 
the Bible legend, also the healing, or preserva- 
tive, qualities of salt long before the white man 
ever encroached upon his domain. Your guess 
is as good as mine as to his belief about not look- 
ing back when in quest of salt. The Plains 
Indians also knew the healing qualities of hot 
mineral springs, for south of Sierra Blanca is 
Indian Hot Springs which they visited long 



214 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

before the advent of the white man in the 
Southwest, going over rigid trails and almost 
insurmountable mountain barriers in order to 
reach the healing waters. 

Many times when an Indian died t his favor- 
ite horse or dog, along with his bow and ar- 
rows and things which he prized greatly, were 
buried along with him. His conception of the 
Great Beyond, from whence no traveler has 
ever returned, was a happy hunting ground 
where game was always plentiful. In his child- 
like thoughts he probably reasoned that the 
things he valued here on this earth, if buried 
with him, would still be at his command when 
he reached the promised land of his dreams. It 
is only natural for the Indian as well as all 
human beings to have some kind of a belief in 
a god of some kind that would be able to take 
care of his soul after leaving this world. 

The Navajo Indians of the West are nation- 
ally known as weavers of fine Navajo blankets. 
They are homespun and made of native wool, 
dyed with native plants and minerals sumac, 
ochre and pifion. They weave into them dif- 
ferent designs that all have a meaning, or tribal 
legend The Navajo Medicine Man makes 
beautiful sand paintings, and each painting is 
destroyed before nightfall. These paintings 
are drawn in the sand using natural colored 
rock, ground to the consistency of sand. Our 
western Indian was once king of all he now sur- 
veys. He has been reduced to silversmithing, 
pottery, basket, and blanket making, combin- 
ing his ancient art to entice and draw dollars 
from tourists that are encroaching on his do- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 215 

main. He is the picturesque product of modern 
activities, proud of his heritage, his craftsman- 
ship, and little disturbed by the world that 
moves so swiftly under his calm, penetrating 
gaze. 

The Pueblo Indians, without doubt, belong 
to the same stock as the Cliff Dwellers. There 
is a certain similarity between their two kinds 
of dwellings. The word, Pueblo, is Spanish, 
meaning village. They all live in one large build- 
ing somewhat like our modern apartment 
houses, without the modern conveniences. One 
of these "acoma," some sixty miles west of the 
Rio Grande, in northwest New Mexico, 
is built on top of a mesa four hun- 
dred feet higher than the surrounding plain. 
The surface of the mesa covers about 160 acres 
with a natural rock pool to catch the surface 
water. It is one of the oldest habitations with- 
in the limits of the United States. It was in- 
habited when Coronado visited the Seven 
Cities of Cibola. On top of Enchanted Mesa 
in New Mexico, without natural means of 
ascent or descent, many relics of a prehistoric 
race have been found. Think of all the back- 
breaking toil it takes to move timbers and var- 
ious building materials up on top of one of 
these mesas, and you will have a task almost 
equal to the construction of the Pyramids of 
Egypt. The Pueblos have ever been agricul- 
turists, using means of irrigation long before 
the advent of the white man. They were not 
so war-like as some tribes, but they have suf- 
fered considerable losses from the Apaches and 
Navajos. 



216 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

Many of the New Mexico tribes make pot- 
tery out of clay, drawing geometrical designs 
of their respective Indian tribes and clans, with 
designs having a meaning. In the early days 
the Indians used the fiber of the yucca plant for 
brushes in drawing their designs; they also 
used native dyes made from plants and minerals 
collected from the desert. Then this pottery 
is baked among sticks and cow dung, and let 
cool in the sun* 

Some of the western mountain tribes or desert 
Indians live in sod or earthen huts commonly 
called hogans, which are propped up with poles. 
When death occurs in the family, they move out 
and pull the props away, and the earth drops in 
and buries the dead, then they go to a new lo- 
cation and build another hogan. 

The word Hopi means "peaceful people/' 
They are monogamous, but when the 
Hopi squaw wants a divorce, she merely 
puts her husband's saddle outside the front 
door, and he knows he is not wanted around 
that domicile any more. Many of the designs 
the Navajos use in their blanket work resemble 
the stone mural carvings of the Aztec Indians 
of old Mexico, when this country was ruled by 
Montezuma. Designs resembling these are used 
to some extent in set stamp work of western 
cowboy saddles. 

Some old time Indian fighters will tell you 
the only good Indian was a dead one. It is 
hard to find a race of people that do not have 
some good about them, either individually or 
collectively, as a nation or a tribe. Tradition 
tells us that the fierce war-like Comanches put 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 217 

a bad woman off to herself, A remnant of the 
Seminole Indians still remain in the Florida 
Everglades* They are known in history chief- 
ly by reason of the Seminole Wars; their war 
chief Osceola defied the United States Army for 
a period of seven years. All this was brought 
about because an American general, Thomas, 
ordered this Indian chief put in irons because 
he bore himself haughtily* The chief never 
forgave the general for this act and later had 
the savage satisfaction of killing and scalping 
the general with his own hands* This same In- 
dian chief with several of his chiefs and some 
seventy odd warriors met General Jesup tp dis- 
cuss a peace conference, and although they were 
protected by a flag of truce, they were seized 
and all throw^n into prison, and the old indom- 
itable chief died there of a fever* I have been 
told by hunters of today who have hunted in 
the Everglades and used the descendants of these 
Indians as guides on their hunting trips, that 
stealing was almost unknown in the tribe, as 
it was punishable by death* Among the In- 
dian laws there is one of this kind which they 
still enforce upon their tribesmen* These hun- 
ters said you could leave your watch, monies, 
extra gun* or any trinket lying around the 
camp or bunk, and go off and be gone all day 
or for several days, and when you returned 
everything would be just as you had left it. 

Throughout history from the settlement of 
Jamestown down to the present, the Indians 
have intermarried with the white* In Okla- 
homa a white man that married an Indian 
woman was called a squaw-man* American 



218 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

women did not intermarry with the Indian 
men so much until after the Creek Nation de- 
veloped into one of the largest oil pools in 
America; then American women started mar- 
rying the Indian men, for the same reason a 
white man often marries an Indian woman, to 
acquire wealth or lands. Pocahuntas was the 
daughter of Powhatan, a dignified and power- 
ful Indian chief of the Chickahominy tribe. 
She went to England as the wife of John Rolfe, 
an Englishman of good character. She chang- 
ed her name to Lady Rebecca as she was called, 
and became a grand lady. She was converted 
and baptized into the Christian faith. 

The Indian has ever been a close observer 
of nature and has read her signs and profited by 
the animal instinct of nature's creatures as easily 
as you and I read these pages. He could also 
read the seasons as to dry and wet weather 
from the position of the moon. When the 
new moon was on its back enough to hold your 
powder horn and keep it from slipping off you 
could go hunting, for the moon was holding 
the water. When it was on its point, the moon 
was pouring the water out and it would be a 
wet month. He had many signs as to when it 
was going to be dry or wet weather. Tradition 
tells of one of his signs for rain cloudy all 
around and pouring down in the middle. 

The Tonkawa Indians were a peaceful tribe. 
After the Civil War the Comanches were about 
to exterminate them, so for protection the sol- 
diers let them live or camp in close to old Fort 
Griffin which was located on the Clear Fork of 
the Brazos River in what is now Shackelford 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 219 

County, Texas. R. C (Bob) Parrack, an old 
buffalo hunter, is now living hale and hearty in 
Lubbock, Texas, at the ripe old age of eighty- 
seven. He came to Texas in 1870. He stated 
that one spring at Fort Griffin the weather was 
very dry, and the Brazos River was nearly dry 
also, with water standing only in holes. The 
Tonkawas were camped down in the valley 
close to water which has always been the In- 
dian's favorite camping grounds for ages. One 
morning the Indians all started moving out of 
the valley to higher ground. When asked their 
reason, they stated a big flood was com- 
ing. Almost everyone laughed at them, as it 
was hot and dry with not a cloud in sight. Some 
venturous soul got up enough courage to ask 
them how they knew about the rain, and they 
stated that all the prairie-dogs were moving out 
of the valley to higher ground. Within three 
days a flood came rolling down the Brazos 
River covering the lowlands with from six to 
ten or even twelve feet. Mr. Parrack told an- 
other story of a circuit rider preaching to the 
Tonkawas. After the sermon, someone asked 
an old chief how he liked the sermon. The chief 
grunted and replied, "Maybe so him tell truth, 
maybe so him tell lie. Him talk too much/' 
This old buffalo hunter, Mr. Parrack, will tell 
you that the natural instincts are being edu- 
cated out of man. What would some of your 
so-called educated folks do if camped in a val- 
ley and the prairie-dogs started moving to high- 
er ground? Many of them would never give 
it a thought. Mr. Parrack hunted buffalo in 
Texas from 1874 to 1878. The range he 



220 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

hunted over extended from the North Concho 
River in Tom Green County near San Angelo, 
north to and around Big Spring, Texas, and 
north from there to the Yellowhouse Canyon 
near the present city of Lubbock. He said the 
buffalo migrated just like the wild geese, go- 
ing north in the spring and returning south in 
the late fall before cold weather really set in. 
He said you could wound a buffalo in the 
spring when he had started to migrate, and if 
the shot knocked him down and he should fall 
in any other direction other than north, if the 
mimal was able, he would twist around and 
: ace the north, obeying the migration law. The 
Plains Indians migrated along with the buffalo, 
: or both the Indians and the buffalo were of a 
lomadic type. 

The buffalo supplied the Indians with their 
lecessities of life: food, clothing, beds, and 
habitations or tepees sometimes called wig- 
vams. These latter were built with poles 
is a frame work, and covered with buffalo 
lides. Fuel was in the form of "buffalo 
hips" which when dry makes a fine fire. 
The buffalo supplied strings for their bows, 
[lue, thread, cordage, trail-ropes for their 
torses, coverings for their saddles. The hair 
rom their hides was long and somewhat like 
Fool, crisp and wiry, and was easily woven 
tito crude cloth, or twisted into strong ropes, 
s it resembles mohair to some extent. Buf~ 
alo hide, or leather made from the hides, was 
.sed for vessels to hold or carry water. Boats 
fere made from the hides also. The buffalo 
7as used for bartering or purchasing supplies 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 221 

from traders of the West. The Indian realized 
more than anyone else that when the buffalo 
was gone, he would come to want. Can we 
blame him for resenting the coming of the 
white man, seeing him destroy these noble 
beasts, and leaving their carcasses to rot on the 
prairies? He fought for his buffalo and resent- 
ed the coming of the white man into his do- 
main with his destructful and wasteful ways, 
as anyone else would. The white man often 
used his high-powered rifles to shoot the buf- 
falo from the trains just to see them fall. I 
think our Plains Indians realized it more than 
the white man did, that when the buffalo be- 
came extinct they too must gradually die out. 

It is not hard for an old ranchman to visual- 
ize what he would do if, some morning, while 
riding across his range he should find vast 
numbers of his Whiteface cattle shot down by 
some outsider, just for the fun of seeing them 
fall, or just for their hides, and leave all that 
good beef to lie there and rot. The Plains In- 
dian looked upon these vast herds of buffalo 
as his property, or heritage, for it's certain that 
he was here before the white man arrived, and 
he can rightfully be called the true American. 
When we stop to realize that we came over 
here and crowded the Indian back from the 
lands he had been using for generation after 
generation, killing his game which was his live- 
lihood or very existence, we can't blame the 
Indian so much for going on the warpath every 
time he had the opportunity. 

We call the Indian savage, but unless we 
change our mode of living, his method may have 



222 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

lasted longer than ours wilL We Americans 
of the Caucasian race either have to "slow up, 
or blow up/' Who ever heard of an Indian 
having a nervous breakdown? Nor was this 
vast domain west of the Mississippi dotted with 
institutions for the feeble minded* Taxation 
and modern political graft was unknown to 
him* Hoggishness and greed as we know it to- 
day were also unknown, for there was plenty of 
game to supply their wants, and if a brave was 
killed either in war or on the hunt, the rest of 
the tribe supplied his squaw or widow and 
children with the same rations as the rest of the 
tribe had* The Plains Indians made moccasins 
of buffalo hides and slept between buffalo robes* 
The Plains Indian used buffalo meat, fresh, 
smoked, dried, or converted into "pemmican," 
which is lean meat, dried, pounded and pre- 
pared in cakes. The Indians cut the lean meat 
into bits, boiled it into shreds, then seasoned it 
with wild berries, flooded with the boiling fat 
of the animaL They sealed it in skin bags or 
containers* This highly nutritious, condensed 
food was then taken on long journeys* It was 
a staple article of diet among the Plains Indians 
of the Northwest* Pemmican thus prepared 
would keep indefinitely* It is used today by 
the Eskimos and Indians of the Far North* 
Arctic explorers also find this prepared meat 
a staple diet on their expeditions in the Far 
North* 

Mounted on a well trained Indian pony 
which he usually rode bareback and guided 
with his knees, or in some instances by a leather 
strap tied in the horse's mouth and tied to his 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 223 

lower jaw, the Plains Indian would dash into 
a herd of buffalo racing alongside of a selected 
animal, shooting arrow after arrow into the ani- 
mal until he had brought it down* Then he 
would dash on to another and repeat the proc- 
ess until the plain was strewn with carcasses 
for the drudging squaws to skin and prepare 
for food and various other articles. Tradition 
tells us that in some instances the Indian used 
spears with flint fastened to a long pole or stick 
which he threw with great force. In many 
instances the Indians acquired firearms with 
which they became very efficient. 

The buffalo is of the ox type, but he differs 
from cattle in appearance. They are very long 
winded on the chase or in a stampede, for 
which they were noted. Old buffalo hunters 
will tell you that when a large herd stampeded, 
they literally shook the earth and sounded like 
distant rolling, rumbling thunder. They could 
take a long swinging gallop or lope and keep 
it up for hours. The head of the bison is broad, 
with short, stubby curved horns, and a shag- 
gy mop of hair almost concealing the small 
eyes. The entire body is covered with long, 
crisp, woolly hair, longer than our domestic 
cattle. Buffalo, in going to or from pasture 
or water, traveled in single file; it might be 
called buffalo society, and it usually consisted 
of a patriarchal old bull in the lead, followed 
by several cows and their young. Thus thou- 
sands of families marched in search of new or 
green pastures, going south in the late fall or 
winter, north in the spring. Vast herds were 



224 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

formed extending farther than the eyes could 
see. 

In Oklahoma in 1900 the Indians all rode 
single file. Did they learn this from the buf- 
falo? That was one way we could tell at a 
distance if a party of white men or Indians 
was approaching* Some authorities will tell 
you that they acquired this precaution in travel- 
ing from the buffalo, as the stronger always 
goes in the lead to protect the weaker in times 
of danger just as a gentleman will put the 
lady on the inside when walking down the 
street. If the Indian's entire family was on 
horseback, the old buck would invariably be 
in the lead, then would come his wife followed 
by his children all in single file, just like the 
buffalo. The Plains Indian sometimes used 
in his travels what is known as a travois for 
hauling or moving the belongings. This was 
a crude, primative vehicle, made by placing 
two poles alongside of an Indian pony some- 
thing like shafts of a single buggy with the 
ends dragging the ground. Skins were placed 
across the poles back of the horse to form a 
crude platform. Sometimes the squaw and 
papoose would ride in this crude carriage de 
luxe. I imagine this was a rather rough, dusty 
conveyance, especially in dry weather. 

Living ten miles north of the town of Snyder 
in Scurry County, Texas, on a twelve-section 
ranch is J. Wright Mooar at the age of eighty- 
eight. He is credited with having killed over 
twenty thousand buffalo, and is recognized as 
one of the greatest buffalo hunters left alive to- 
day. Mr. Mooar tells about a trip he and John 




t> JT3 C< 

1 It 



-pjll 

* ijSt 5:1 

fna>g8:S 



h V 

3 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 225 

Webb made in 1873 into the country lying be- 
tween the Palo Duro creek or canyon and the 
Canadian River* This country is now known 
as a part of the North Plains of the Texas 
Panhandle. They ran into a herd of tightly 
packed buffalo so large that they could not see 
across the herd. Few white men ever saw a 
sight like this, and perhaps Mr. Mooar is the 
only living man of this modern age that ever 
saw it. For over thirty miles these hunters 
rode through the immense herd, the buffalo 
opening in front of them and closing the gap 
behind them, like water. This old hunter 
freighted dried buffalo meat into old Fort Grif- 
fin and sold it for seven and one half cents a 
pound. Hides were commonly sold for a dol- 
lar each. Most buffalo hunters used the old 
Sharps rifle, in 44 and 45 calibers; some used 
the big fifty guns that weighed from twelve to 
sixteen pounds. They shot large slugs of lead 
that weighed from eleven to sixteen ounces, 
backed up with ninety grains of black powder, 
which produced an awful wallop. Guns of 
this caliber would have knocked down a bull 
elephant, and kicked like a bay mule on a fel- 
low's shoulder. Mr. Mooar, along with many 
other old buffalo hunters, takes the stand that 
the buffalo hunter not the trail drivers, 
ranchmen or the nester tamed the West; and 
I am inclined to think he is right to a great 
extent. 

The buffalo hunter was not in his rights, of 
course, in invading the Indians' country of the 
western plains. It was -slaughter pure and 
simple; but perhaps it was necessary to the de- 



226 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

velopment and civilization of the West. For 
in place of wild buffalo, we now have fine 
Hereford cattle grazing the plains. These buf- 
falo hunters must have been hardy souls, to 
brave the elements and nature against the 
rough, savage Indians, who naturally hated 
them with all the fury possible for destroying 
their livelihood right before their eyes. Indians 
were constantly on the warpath for hunter's 
scalps. Hunters also had to contend with the 
outcasts or outlaws of their own race in this 
new, uncharted country, far from civilization. 
Volumes could be written about the hardships 
they endured. One reason they never had any 
more trouble with the Indians than they did 
was the simple reason that they were almost to 
the man deadly shots, and were well armed and 
had plenty of ammunition. They were con- 
stantly on the lookout for the redskins; and if 
one poked his head over a hill within reason- 
able distance, these old hunters, who were ac- 
customed to killing hundreds of buffalo in a 
day, would plug the Indian right between the 
eyes. When it came to the Indian facing cer- 
tain death, he was not of that nature; he wanted 
the odds on his side. If he could get a cowboy, 
buffalo hunter or soldier cut off from his com- 
panions, he would take his scalp and retreat 
to his main tribe for protection. Of course 
there were plenty of small skirmishes between 
the Indians and the hunters, which have never 
been recorded; for no doubt the uncertainty or 
lack of knowledge as to how strong the other 
might be caused them to respect each other to 
such an extent that they avoided contact or 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 227 

strife as much as possible. For this is a very 
large country; either one could roam for days 
without seeing a human being. 

But there was one Indian battle which oc- 
curred in Texas that historians of today recog- 
nize as one of the greatest Indian battles ever 
fought. It is known as the battle of Adobe 
Walls, which occurred at dawn on June 27, 
1874. This old buffalo trading post was lo- 
cated on a small tributary of the Canadian 
River, in the north Panhandle of Texas, in 
what is now Hutchinson County. Chief 
Quanah Parker, the half-breed of the Coman- 
ches, led this attack just as dawn was breaking 
over the eastern hills. There is no doubt but 
what this band of buffalo hunters would have 
been completely wiped out if a ridge pole had 
not cracked with a loud report about an hour 
before daybreak, awakening several hunters 
who were sleeping in a store building. They 
were afraid the roof would cave in as the build- 
ings were adobe or dirt walls, with poles for a 
roof, covered with dirt. This made the roof 
extremely heavy; so several of the hunters got 
up to repair this ridge pole. They went down 
to the creek and had cut a cottonwood to make 
the repair; when one of them noticed a dark, 
low cloud approaching, and they finally made 
out that it was a large band of Indians on horse- 
back approaching at a dead run. The ones that 
were up gave the alarm quickly and made a 
rush for the buildings, but this did not 
occur soon enough to save two brothers 
who were sleeping in their freight wagon just 
outside the walls. This band of brave men, 



228 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

all fine shots, began to take such a heavy toll 
of the Indians as they circled the walls, and the 
hunters used their old buffalo guns with such 
deadly accuracy, that the Indians soon retreated. 
Many Indians were killed in attempting to carry 
away their dead, for the Indian was always loyal 
to a wounded or dead companion; he wanted to 
bury his own dead. No doubt the Indians did 
not know that several hunting parties had come 
into the Walls or trading post late the evening 
before, and no doubt providence was protecting 
this band of hunters and fate was against the 
Indians; for if they had been able to rush down 
on the Walls just at dawn while everyone was 
asleep, they could have broken in and massacred 
every man almost before they were aware of an 
attack. History then would have recorded a 
gruesome story with an ending quite different* 
There was one white woman in the Walls at the 
time of the battle, and her husband was ac- 
cidentally killed after the Indians had retreated. 
These hunters had been slaughtering the In- 
dians* buffalo by the thousands, and the In- 
dians were quite naturally disturbed over the 
wasteful slaughter. 

Billy Dixon was the hero of Adobe Walls 
and died only a few years ago. His widow, 
Mrs. Olive K* Dixon, now lives in Amarillo, 
Texas. She has written a book on this man's 
life which was a very eventful one. The writer 
has the pleasure of knowing Mrs. Dixon per- 
sonally, having visited in her home. Billy 
Dixon was chief scout, working out of old 
Fort Elliott for some time. This old fort was 
located in Wheeler County, Texas, near the 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 229 

present town of old Mobeetie. It was while 
scouting with a small band of soldiers from old 
Fort Elliott that he was also the hero of what 
was later called the battle of Buffalo-wallow. 
This is a small depression in the ground usual- 
ly made by two old buffalo bulls fighting, 
probably to their death. 

This battle took place right on the open 
prairie with no protection whatsoever, other 
than what this small depression the earth 
afforded, which they finally retreated to. The 
attack occurred early in the morning. Several 
of the soldiers were wounded; one was killed. 
Their horses were killed and they were forced 
to this wallow for their last stand. With only 
a handful of men, Dixon was the only one 
who did not receive a wound. Every time the 
Indians would charge the white men, they 
would kill or wound several of them, and then 
they would retreat; charge them again with the 
same results. These men fought with a dogged 
determination, for they well knew it was cer- 
tain death if they were captured. It was a very 
hot day, and the wounded were famished for 
water. Old soldiers will tell you that when in 
a battle or in a close spot where your life hangs 
in the balance, your mouth will become dry and 
salty; and of course a wounded man becomes 
feverish at once, and water is all he can think 
of. The reader will not have to draw on his 
imagination much to realize what a hazardous 
position these brave men were in. The band 
of Indians that had attacked them was not large, 
but was mounted on Indian ponies. The In- 
dians held the white men there until late in the 



230 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

afternoon with the hot sun boiling down on 
them, the wounded out of their heads talking 
and begging for water. Finally a thunder storm 
came up and poured down a cold shower of 
rain, running water into the wallow. This 
was a God-send no doubt; but it chilled both 
the Indians and the white soldiers to the bone. 
The Indians finally gave up and left, probably 
going back to their main tribe, where they 
could find shelter and fire wood. One of the 
soldiers died that night. Another scouting 
party was sent out from the fort next morning 
and found them. 

The writer has hunted prairie-chicken and 
worked on a ranch when a boy in the immediate 
vicinity of where this battle took place. In 
company with other boys I have helped to push 
over some of the old sod or adobe walls of 
this old fort at Mobeetie. Many of these old 
walls were still standing in 1907. No one at 
that time thought enough about them to re- 
mind boys not to do this foolish stunt. I have 
since regretted having any part in the act. Mrs. 
Dixon also stated that the Indians returned the 
next year after the battle of Adobe Walls and 
destroyed them completely. Quanah Parker 
told some of his white friends in later years that 
he was thrown from his horse at the beginning 
of the battle of the Walls, and was hurt so 
badly that he could not participate in the fight. 

The mother of this half-breed Comanche 
Indian chief was a white woman. She was 
kidnapped in 1836 as a small girl from Lime- 
stone County, Texas, not over 150 miles from 
where I was reared. Her name was Cynthia 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 231 

Ann Parker. At Cedar Lake in Gaines County, 
Texas, is a large, old Indian camp ground 
where tradition among the Comanches has it 
that Quanah Parker, the famous half-breed 
chief, was born of this white captive mother, 
Cynthia Ann. They have recently brought 
in a big oil pool on the banks of this 
lake* Many old Indian camps can be 
located on the South Plains of Texas; many 
of them are over fifty miles from a known 
water supply; yet these camps show that they 
have been occupied by thousands of Indians 
over long periods of time. There is no current 
tradition that indicates who the Indian tribes 
were, nor where they went; but scattered here 
and there Indian graves have been found on 
the South Plains. There is no doubt but what 
the Comanches, Apaches, Kiowas, and other 
Plains Indians crossed and re-crossed the Great 
Plains many times in following the buffalo 
herds in their migratory seasons. 

The Comanche Indians belonged to the 
Shoshone or Snake family, and came south 
more than five centuries ago, from their homes 
on the Yellowstone. Camp sites where thou- 
sands of redskins lived are still to be found 
among the sand hills of the plains, which af- 
forded them some protection from the cold 
winds. Camp outlines remain discernible, 
likewise fire pits, along with countless thou- 
sands of flint arrowheads, implements, and 
stones used for fleshing the hides in prepara- 
tion for tanning, and flat rocks on which the 
truejAmerican ground his corn and beans. Many 
fragments and significant bone implements can 



232 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

be found* Some of these enormous camps in 
the sand hills show some evidence of permanent 
habitation where no doubt the Indians lived 
in tepees or wigwams made of buffalo hides 
stretched over poles. Of course, all the old 
watering places of the plains have evidence of 
where the Indians camped during their hunting 
trips. Indian trails have been found crossing 
the plains east and west, one running near Post, 
Texas, another through Lubbock, and a third 
crossing Hale County to the north merging 
with the one through Lubbock at a point some 
fifty odd miles northwest in the sand hills 
where some of the larger camps have been 
found 

Much evidence has been found that would 
indicate that the Plains Indians traded or bar- 
tered with Indian tribes farther west and north, 
for much of the pottery unearthed is doubtless 
of Pueblo manufacture; while much of the flint 
used in the manufacture of arrowheads would 
indicate that it came from tribes of the north. 
It is of high grade alabaster. Flints with streaks 
of red and white shading to pink and various 
other shades or color contrasts have been work- 
ed into the most delicate symmetrical points 
imaginable, which fact would indicate that our 
own Plains Indians were artistic, skilled work- 
men, considering the implements or tools with 
which they had to work in shaping or fashion- 
ing their arrows or other trinkets. 

Tradition does not tell us much about In- 
dians and his cattle, but when we went to 
Oklahoma in 1900 there were many large herds 
of Indian cattle, and plenty of these herds would 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 233 

indicate that the Indian was a fairly good cow- 
man. He never paid any particular attention 
to breeding in those days, but that was before 
the day of good breeding. The country was 
still stocked with the Texas Longhorns; they 
still made up the greater part of almost all 
range herds. The herds had not been bred 
up like they are today, with Herefords or 
Whitefaces. Old trail drivers will tell you that 
the Indians were particularly fond of beef, and 
that they always made it a point to exact a 
tribute of so many beef steers for letting the 
trail herds pass through their country. Both 
the North and South American Indians have 
had small herds of cattle ever since cattle were 
first introduced into the western world by 
Columbus on his second voyage to America. 

Tradition tells us a story of trees being up- 
rooted by a storm and falling into a small lake 
in Peru. Sick cattle belonging to Indians be- 
came well after drinking the water. The In- 
dian himself was cured of a fever; thus centur- 
ies ago one of the greatest drugs known to man 
was discovered for combating malaria fever. 
According to the Peruvians this drug was qui- 
nine. Our North American Indians knew 
many medicinal remedies derived from roots 
and herbs of the forest for his ailments and dis- 
eases. They knew the healing and cleansing 
qualities of salt, used in a wound. When it 
became infected and would not heal, the Indian 
would take a hot iron and cauterize or burn it. 
This remedy was bound to be very painful, but 
it is known to produce results. The Indians 
argued that the burn would heal more quickly 



234 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

than the sore. Throughout Oklahoma and 
north Arkansas many of the old folks can 
give you many Indian remedies that are con- 
sidered good for many diseases, some even go 
so far as to declare they will cure up a malig- 
nant growth, like cancer. I am not vouching 
for that statement pertaining to cancer, but I 
do know that if the white settlers had listened 
to the advice of some of the old Indians when 
they moved into their country, they could have 
saved themselves much trouble and many lives, 
for the Indians knew from experience or tradi- 
tion the natural hazards of the country in 
which they lived 

When the railroad was being built through 
the foothills of the Wichita Mountains, in 
Oklahoma, and men started laying out the town 
of Snyder, several old blanket Indians came 
and watched the workmen for a while. Finally 
one old chief asked, "What white man do?" 
The foreman spoke up and said, "We are going 
to build the Indians a big town or village/' 
The old Indian replied with a shrug of his 
shoulders and a grunt of disgust, "White man 
heap big fool! Big wind come/' Making a twist- 
ing motion with his hand the Indian continued, 
"No town/* Then he walked off. They laugh- 
ed at the Indians but not for long. This town 
is built right in a pass in the hills with a flat 
plain to the southwest. When a storm ap- 
proaches this pass, it causes a suction. We 
lived only forty miles northeast of this little 
city when it was blown away by a cyclone the 
first time, in spring of 1904, killing over a 
hundred people. The storm literally wiped the 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 235 

town off the map. It was rebuilt and has been 
blown away several times since. If the first 
builders had listened to the old Indians and 
read the geographical aspects of the country, 
they could have seen the evidence of those 
storms, and saved themselves many thousands 
of dollars in money, and many pale-face lives. 
The Indian never took time to argue with the 
white man, that was not his nature; he is a man 
of few words. 

You can go only a few miles north of Snyder 
and you drop over into a small valley and vil- 
lage called Mountain Park where you are con- 
siderably lower than the surrounding country, 
and where the storm passes over. When I was 
there last, in the spring of 1917, there were 
many oak trees larger than a rain barrel, or 
three feet through. It has taken many centur- 
ies to grow these mighty oaks in this semi- 
arid country. If the cyclones had ever hit this 
valley they certainly would have destroyed these 
oaks. This valley has been known as an In- 
dian camp ground for untold centuries. I 
talked with an old trail driver not many years 
ago, who told me they were caught in this pass 
during a storm long before Snyder was ever 
built, with a large bunch of Texas Longhorns. 
The cattle stampeded and scattered, and they 
lost many steers in the storm. 

When this first bad storm occurred in the 
spring of 1904, it traveled in a northeasterly 
direction which was into the main Wichita 
Mountains, which threw it into the air. We 
found many things: pictures, ladies' purses, silk 
dresses, and almost anything that was light 



236 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

enough for the wind to carry* It was as bad 
looking a cloud as I have ever seen, and the 
lightning was one continuous quiver* 

At this time we lived nine miles north of old 
Fort Cobb which is located on the Washita 
River in Caddo County* The old fort had been 
abandoned when we moved to Oklahoma* 
There was an old Indian living at Fort Cobb 
who I have seen many times as a boy* His 
name was Fast Runner; I can't recall what 
tribe he was from, but this is how he came by 
his name. When the soldiers were stationed at 
old Fort Cobb* they held a foot-race on some 
annual event, probably the fourth of July* 
Plenty of money was won and lost on this race* 
When we moved to Oklahoma, many old 
timers could tell you about the race which was 
staked out over a distance of ten miles* with 
a new or fresh soldier stationed at each mile 
who would drop out when he had run a mile, 
and a fresh soldier would run another mile* 
The Indian, Fast Runner, ran the entire ten 
miles and outran the last soldier as easily as he 
did the first one* This Indian was getting 
along in years when I was a youngster but 
many people who knew him said he could head 
or outrun any Indian pony that he owned, for 
a short distance* 

W. W* Pollard, now living in Lubbock, told 
me an Indian story that he had heard from his 
father who died in 1937 close to ninety years 
of age* The old gentleman was a Texas Ranger 
at one time and an Indian fighter* He lived 
practically all his life in Palo Pinto County, 
Texas* He stated one time when he was a 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 237 

Ranger, they were following a bunch of In- 
dians who had been down in North Central 
Texas on a raid, and were crowding them 
rather close. He saw an Indian on foot who 
was running at an angle toward the Indians who 
were on horseback. The Rangers' horses were in 
fairly good shape, and Mr. Pollard said he 
thought, "This is where I get me one Indian, 
at least/' He spurred his horse into the chase 
as fast as he could run, but could not gain on 
the Indian at all. His companions noticed him 
and bore in toward him and picked him up. 
This man stated Indians would often run be- 
side their horses to rest them, holding onto their 
mane, and then bounce back onto the horse and 
ride when the horse was rested. By repeating 
this process, the Indian made it very hard for 
a white man to overtake him. Most Indian 
horses were low and compact, not as tall as our 
horses of today. The Comanches made most of 
their raids into Texas on moonlight nights. 
They were all wonderful horsemen and many 
authorities consider them the greatest bareback 
riders the world has ever produced. This old 
Ranger stated he once watched fifteen or 
twenty Comanche Indians herding a bunch of 
mustang horses under a large liveoak tree. Some 
of the young bucks were hid in the branches of 
the tree, and would drop off on the back of 
the horse they wanted. Then all the pitching 
and bawling, it would take place. He stated 
very few Indians were thrown; they would 
stick on the horse's back like a leech. That is 
horsemanship par excellence, for it was bare- 
back riding with no saddle or bridle; and be- 



238 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

lieve me it takes a horseman to ride a wild horse 
under those conditions* 

Uncle Ike Gregory, who was an old Con- 
federate soldier and lived on the south line of 
Cooke County, Texas, about three miles from 
where I was reared, passed on a few years ago* 
He once told me in 1924, when I did some den- 
tal work for him, that he and his neighbors once 
chased a lone Comanche Indian from his ranch 
place nearly to Red River, a distance of around 
twenty-five miles, to where they finally killed 
the Indian after his horse had been ridden to 
death in the chase* They would ride their 
horses down and stop at some rancher *s place 
they were passing and saddle a fresh mount and 
more men would join the chase. When they 
caught the Indian they were riding their third 
mount- The Indian had only the one horse 
throughout the chase* Mr* Gregory stated that 
the Indian liked to have outrun their last relay 
of horses, and was approaching the Red River 
brakes when they finally wounded him* They 
chased him for several miles on foot after his 
horse had dropped dead* They finally over- 
took him on Wolfe Ridge not far from where 
I once owned a farm* You can guess the rest* 
Mr* Gregory stated they went back and looked 
at the Indian's dead horse which was a pitiful 
sight; all the flesh was broken and bleeding 
around the top of the horse's hoofs* The In- 
dian had whipped the blood out of the horse's 
side and belly* This old gentleman stated an 
Indian could get more out of a horse than any 
human he had ever seen, and he was reared in 
a pioneer country* 



[ISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 239 

I have heard Mrs, C E. Harman, her maiden 
tame was Hendrix, who died only last year, 
tate she had hidden as a child in a large hedge 
lose to their ranch on Flat Creek on moonlight 
tights and heard the Indians whooping and 
r elling and driving off every horse her father 
lad. I have played in this hedge as a boy with 
let children. This occurred about five or six 
niles south of where my parents now live. They 
tlways hid in the hedge for fear the Indians 
vould try to murder them. I attended my 
irst school in this community. She stated 
:hat the horses would all be corralled in a rail- 
}en close to the house, but when the Indians 
itarted whooping and yelling, the horses would 
iterally go frantic and pile upon each other 
intil they broke down the fence somewhere; 
"hen they would flee, with the Indians after 
them. All the counties along close to Red 
River suffered from many Indian raids for 
jrears, until the Indians were finally placed on 
(reservations in Oklahoma. There is an old log 
house which I have been in, and was still stand- 
ing a few years ago, not far from the highway 
between Weatherford and Mineral Wells, 
Texas, where the automobiles go speeding past 
at sixty miles an hour or more. In 1928, while 
living in Fort Worth, Texas, I met an old man 
who said that when he was a boy he had helped 
to fight the Indians from his old log house. 

I have a good friend and hunting compan- 
ion, E. A. Manning. His father was con- 
struction contractor on the Kansas City, Mexico 
and Orient Railroad when it was built through 
the state of Chihuahua, Old Mexico. Manning 



240 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

was timekeeper for his father* He stated the 
Taramari Indians of the mountains of Western 
Chihuahua are noted for their long runs. On 
a number of occasions he has seen three Indians 
relay and run down a deer in from two to three 
hours. That looks impossible but they knew 
the run of the deer and would cut across tak- 
ing advantage of this, and keep the deer run- 
ning. He would finally go to a water hole and 
one of them would swim out and cut the deer's 
throat. On one occasion a party in camp had 
neglected to file some necessary papers, and this 
had almost let a mining claim lapse. He got 
a surveyor and resurveyed the claim and drew 
a map of it which had to be in the mining re- 
cording office at eight on the morning the next 
day. They gave a Taramari Indian runner the 
instrument which was to be recorded at eleven 
on the evening before, and he was sitting on the 
steps of the recorder's office in El Campo the 
next morning at eight, waiting for the office 
to open. He stated later, that he had been there 
perhaps twenty minutes when the office 
opened. The way the road ran, it was a 
hard three days ride on horseback. But 
crossing the mountains, following game trails, 
which the Indians knew, they estimated it to be 
a distance of about eighty miles, which is not 
bad for a little less than nine hours running. 
^ When on a long run, these Indians eat only 
"penoli", which is roasted ground corn. They 
take a small sack of this corn meal with them 
when on a run, and when hungry, they mix a 
small handful with water and drink it every 
three or four hours. They have an annual 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 241 

fiesta each year and hold a race of 150 kilo- 
meters which is approximately ninety- five 
miles. The winner of this race is awarded the 
job of carrying the mail through the mountains 
for one year. The Indian women also run a 
race of 125 kilometers, and their award is a 
beef steer. Around twelve years ago, two In- 
dian boys from this tribe ran a non-stop race 
from San Antonio to Austin, Texas, a distance 
of seventy-five or eighty miles. They take a 
long dog trot and can keep it up for hours. I 
have been told many Indian tribes of the South- 
west had runners that, over a long distance, 
could outrun a horse carrying a man. That is 
reasonable, for the horse would out-distance 
the man at the start, but if there is no stopping 
to rest, the man will finally overtake the horse. 
Some scientists tell you that man, properly 
trained, is the toughest animal in existence. 
There is no doubt but what a healthy man, 
raised and trained in the great outdoors, can 
build himself up to where he can accomplish 
feats that would be seemingly impossible. Tra- 
dition tells us of one Paul Simpson in North 
Carolina who raced with a Texas pony for 144 
miles, and won by twenty-five miles; the horse 
collapsed. 

When we moved to Oklahoma in 1900, al- 
most all the Indian tribes were tall, slender, 
long-legged men, well proportioned. 

We call the Indian the Red Man. No doubt 
his skin has become tanned to the color of rus- 
set leather through many centuries of living 
out in the sun, wind and rain; for in cross breed- 
ing, they soon revert back to the white man in 



242 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

appearance* Of course, there were exceptions 
to this in the Indian as well as in the white man. 
I remember seeing a Choctaw Indian at a picnic 
on July 4, at Binger, Oklahoma, who came so 
near filling a spring seat on an Indian wagon 
that there was just room enough left for a small 
Indian boy. He weighed over five hundred 
pounds. Grandfather said this Indian later got 
so fat that the other Indians would move camp 
and leave him, and he would finally come in 
when his rations were cut off. He reduced very 
quickly as he was a glutton and would eat until 
he could hardly move around. 

In dress and appearance many of the young 
Indian men who had been off to school would 
try to look like white boys; they would have 
their hair cut and shave their necks. But prac- 
tically all the older men wore it long and would 
plait colored cloth into the hair and let one plait 
hang down in front and one behind. Their 
hair was always dark or coal black and of as 
coarse texture as a horse's mane or tail. An- 
other peculiarity about the full-blooded In- 
dians: they were smooth faced with very few 
whiskers on their face at all. Who can remem- 
ber ever seeing an Indian's picture with whiskers 
on his face? Of course, when their blood is 
crossed with the white race, whiskers seem to 
come with this change. Well can I remember 
when a boy seeing an old Indian sitting around 
taking what I would call a dry shave, plucking 
his few scattering whiskers from his face, using 
a small pair of tweezers; somewhat like our 
modern ladies plucking their eyebrows. How- 
ever, the Indian did not use a mirror; he was 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 243 

not that vain. You could ask one if it hurt to 
pull the whiskers from his face and he would 
usually say, "No hurt/' When a young In- 
dian became grown or about the age the white 
man would start shaving, he would start pull- 
ing the few whiskers from his face. Shaving 
increases and stiffens a white man's beard, but 
I imagine pulling the whiskers out by the roots 
would decrease what few whiskers they had if 
practiced over a period of time. The full- 
blooded Indians' eyes were invariably dark 
brown. Their eyes changed color as they be- 
came mixed with the whites. 

The Indians of New Mexico and Arizona 
have not intermarried and mixed their blood 
with the white races like the Five Civilized 
Tribes and other Indians of Oklahoma. Some 
authorities will tell you the full-blooded In- 
dians never possess the emotions that sway a 
white man's breast. They never laughed or 
cried, and about the only feelings they ever 
manifested burst forth when they were on the 
warpath or when raiding some settler's stock. 
Then they would utter a fiendish and blood- 
curdling yell that would instantly paralyze all 
refined sensibilities in either man or beast. 

Some folks will tell you there were no good 
Indians. If you are of that opinion, you should 
read the story of Joe Bowers, a California In- 
dian who was a real friend to the white settlers, 
protecting them time and again. He was al- 
ways the peace-maker between the white man 
and the Indians. He realized from the start 
that the Indian must submit to the white man's 
ways and the onward march of civilization. He 



244 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

devoted his life to helping to bring about this 
change in his tribe. Quanah Parker, the half- 
breed chief of the Comanches, after the Battle 
of Adobe Walls, realized that the Indians must 
submit to the white man's ways. He finally 
convinced his braves of this fact, and they re- 
tired to a reservation in the Wichita Mountains 
of Oklahoma in 1880. 

The Indian in his dress liked large Stetson 
hats, typical of the cowmen of the Southwest* 
The greater portion of them wore civilian 
clothes. However, I have seen some old full- 
bloods wearing a blanket with a Stetson hat 
on their heads. Practically all the women wore 
gaily-colored blankets except the young In- 
dian maidens who had gone away to school. 
They usually dressed like the white women in 
the locality in which they resided* When oil 
was discovered on the lands of the Creek Na- 
tion, most of the Indians began to put on 
weight, due to the luxuries of easy living, and 
no exercise. Most of the Creek Indians are large, 
tall men. Almost all Indians that have any 
money are free spenders. They figure that 
money is good for what it will buy that they 
want. Things that suit their fancy may not 
appeal to the white man at all. And it was this 
weakness the white traders took advantage of. 
Of course, by educating the Indian, associating 
with him and intermingling his blood with the 
whites, he has learned the ways of the pale- 
faces, and many people with Indian blood in 
their veins are as shrewd as the smartest of the 
whites, and don't need any governmental 
agency to look after them. 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 245 

The Indians of the Southwest have many 
weather signs as to when it is going to be 
dry or wet weather. There is an old 
Indian sign which my grandfather said from 
observation during his long life was a good 
one* When the wind is in the south and it 
lightens at night in the north it will rain with- 
in three days. Still another sign of rain was 
the action of ants and prairie-dogs* If they 
start building higher the mounds around their 
homes, it is going to rain within a few days* 
One of the best barometers that ever roamed the 
woods is an old razorback, or native sow. 
When there is going to be a change to cold or 
bad, damp weather, a day or so in advance, she 
will begin collecting leaves, dry grass, or shucks 
in which to build her a nice warm bed for her- 
self as well as her little pigs; and long before the 
norther strikes she will have it completed and 
will crawl under it letting it coyer her entire 
body. When she does that and if you haven't 
plenty of fire wood cut and in the woodshed, 
you will have to chop wood out in the cold, for 
a bad break in the weather is on its way pronto. 
There is an old saying in Texas that, "All 
signs of rain fail in dry weather/' There is also 
another Texas saying that, "Only newcomers 
and damn fools prophesy regarding the weather, 
which reminds me of an interesting story* 

A fellow moved to Texas from the East, and 
he was always commenting on the weather, and 
folks would laugh and walk off. He cornered 
a friend and asked the friend what was wrong 
with him, stating he only commented on the 
weather and folks gave him the horse laugh. 



246 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

His friend asked him if he had never heard the 
old saying that no one in Texas commented on 
the weather except newcomers and damn fools. 
He studied a minute, and said, "Well, I guess 
that is still all right, for that is all I have seen 
since I have been here/* 

The great slaughter of the plains buffalo be- 
gan in 1874 and practically all of them had 
been killed or driven off the plains by 1877. 
In just three short years the buffalo hunters had 
shot themselves out of business* The Great 
Plains or Llano Estacado, was the buffaloes' last 
stand* During those three years literally mil- 
lions of buffalo were slaughtered for their hides, 
hump, and tongues; of course the hides were of 
the most value* With the passing of the buf- 
falo it meant the Indian could not leave his 
reservation to roam the happy hunting grounds 
he once knew* It also meant the beginning of 
a new era* Ranching and the cattlemen were 
not long in driving their herds to the plains to 
take the place of the buffalo* Many old buf- 
falo camps are located on the plains, perhaps 
the best known one is Buffalo Springs, located 
in Yellowhouse Canyon some seven miles south 
and east of Lubbock* These hunting parties 
consisted of from five to a dozen men* The 
good shots killed the buffalo, the skinners fol- 
lowed with the wagons and team to gather up 
the hides and what meat they wanted* One 
man was cook for the crew, and it was usually 
his duty between meals to stake out the hides 
to dry in the sun* These hides were later freight- 
ed, usually by ox teams and the old high-wheel- 
ed prairie-schooner, to old Fort Griffin and old 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 247 

Fort Worth, to be reshipped to the markets of 
the North and East, to supply the leather mar- 
kets of the world. In some instances buffalo 
meat was cooked or cured and shipped East to 
markets, or army camps. But in most instances 
the carcasses, after skinning, were left to rot or 
supply food for the wolves or buzzards. After 
the flesh had perished away, the plains were 
scattered with bleached bones. Another new 
industry sprang up and flourished for a short 
time; that of gathering up the bones and ship- 
ping them east for fertilizer. 

When there were no fences or roads on the 
plains, it was an easy matter to become lost, 
for the entire country looks practically the 
same, especially to someone who is not familiar 
with the plains country. There are no hills, 
trees, or large rocks to guide the traveler. This 
is how ''Staked Plains'" got started: travelers 
would carry a bunch of stakes and drive them 
into the ground as they advanced and they 
could return to their camp or starting place 
by following the stakes. Tradition tells us 
that Uncle Hank Smith, one of the plains' 
first settlers, marked the first road or high- 
way coming out of Blanco Canyon in Cros- 
by County, Texas, on to the plains. Trav- 
eling in a westerly direction, he gathered up 
the bleached buffalo bones as he drove across 
the prairie and would dump them out making 
a large pile or white monument about every 
mile. This procedure was repeated until he 
reached the little settlement of Estacado. These 
white piles of bones could be seen for miles in 
clear weather. Thus did the buffalo furnish 



248 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

with the bones of his body the first highway 
markers of the Great Plains of the Southwest. 
Living south of Petersburg, Texas, is an old 
lady, Mrs. John Allen, Sr., who as a bride of 
sixteen sat huddled up in a wagon some fifty- 
six years ago, in the western part of what is 
now Crosby County, and not far from the Lub- 
bock County line, fifty or more painted, 
screeching, half-naked redskins gathered around 
the wagon laughing and poking fun at her. 
They begged for everything in sight. The 
hardships this old lady has endured would fill 
a book: rearing a family, giving birth to two 
of her nine children alone and unattended, 
tending an eight-year-old son who had been 
bitten by a rattlesnake she split the bite with 
a razor, applied soda and warm sweet milk all 
day, and the child lived* 

^ Most old timers will tell you that the In- 
dians were particularly fond of coffeee. In 
those days settlers bought it in hundred pound 
lots in a berry-form which had to be 
roasted and then ground in an old fash- 
ioned coffee mill. The Indian could con- 
sume an awful lot of this white man's 
delicacy. And when he came around peaceably 
he expected some sort of treat, or pipe of peace, 
so to speak, from the white man. He seemed 
to substitute the coffee for the tobacco pipe. It 
was your good-will offering to him, and the 
fact that he partook of it was his acceptance of 
your peace offering. I have hunted in the 
mountains of New Mexico, and when near an 
Indian hunter's camp they will ask you to come 
around, and nothing will satisfy them but for 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 249 

you to drink a cup of coffee with them* It is 
the Indian's gesture of friendship toward his 
pale-faced brother. 

It cannot be denied that the Indian who 
once roamed this vast domain now has his 
habitat within the comparative narrow con- 
fines of reservations* Neither can it be denied 
that the white man or Uncle Sam has broken 
his pledges and promises to the tribesmen many 
times in the past. But present conditions in 
the Indian country would indicate that Uncle 
Sam has had a change of heart, and that the 
Indian can have food, clothing, and shelter 
without turning a hand if that is his preference* 
Many white people cannot have that assurance; 
so it can be argued pro and con as to the 
Indians' welfare. The Indians' ways are not 
the white man's ways. He cannot be cooped up 
in thickly populated areas and survive and in- 
crease like the white man; he seems to be a part 
of God's great out of doors, the wide open 
spaces of the great Southwest. But he can 
rightfully be called the true American, for we 
of the Caucasian race have been transplanted in 
America from Europe, like our horses were 
transplanted to America. In conclusion I 
quote a tribute to the Indians paid by that 
grand old soldier and statesman, who was the 
President of the Republic of Texas and our 
first Governor, Sam Houston, who had many 
friends among the Indians: 

"As a race they have withered from the land. 
Their arrows are broken and their springs have 
evaporated; their cabins or tepees are in the 
dust. Their council fire has long since gone 



250 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

out on the shore, and their war cry is fast dying 
out to the untrodden west. Slowly and sadly 
they climb the mountains and read their doom 
in the setting sun. They are shrinking before 
the mighty tide which is pressing them away; 
they must soon hear the roar of the last wave, 
which will settle over them forever* Ages 
hence, the inquisitive white man, as he stands 
by some growing city will ponder on the struc- 
ture of their disturbed remains and wonder to 
what manner of person they belonged. They 
will live only in the songs and chronicles of 
their exterminators* Let these be faithful to 
their rude virtues as men, and pay tribute to 
their unhappy fate as a people/* 



THE PIONEER OR COVERED 
WAGON DAYS 



America has literally rolled westward on 
wagon wheels; the song, Roll Along, Covered 
Wagon, Roll Along, tells a story in itself. If 
the many prairie-schooners and freight wagon- 
trains could only talk they would relate their 
heartaches, tragedies, hopes, joys, and anticipa- 
tions of what was on the other side of yonder 
mountains, valley or plains stories that will 
never be told of the pioneers who trekked across 
the Great Plains or Llano Estacado, or the 
Great [American Desert long before a bored 
well or windmill was ever heard of* 

In fact, the writer has hunted prairie-chicken 
in Yoakum County, Texas, in the immediate 
vicinity of where some fifteen or more negro 
cavalrymen thirsted to death from want of 
water. They could have dug to water with 
a spade in four to eight feet, within a mile of 
where this tragedy occurred. In fact, is not far 
from a famous ranch headquarters now stand- 
ing on the line of Texas and New Mexico 
where the ranchmen have scraped out a basin 
on the flat prairie. Plenty of water seeps into 
this basin to water cattle and horses. But the 
old pioneer did not know that there was an 
underground sea under the plains, where you 

251 



252 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

could get inexhaustible water within from four 
to five feet up to a hundred* In the days when 
the country was infested with roving bands of 
Indians and buffalo, in crossing the plains after 
leaving running water-draw, during a dry time, 
there was no water for over two hundred miles 
in a westerly direction. Of course, there were 
some waterings the Indians were familiar with, 
but in extremely dry weather the lakes dried up 
and water became liquid gold* The heat waves 
would produce a mirage, which is very deceiv- 
ing to a fellow, especially if he is thirsty, as it 
looks as if there is a large lake of water just 
about a mile ahead of you* On extremely hot 
days it looks as if you are surrounded by lakes 
of clear water; but the beautiful lakes of water 
just keep about the same distance ahead of you, 
and it is like trying to reach the pot of gold at 
the end of the rainbow. On these same plains, 
you will find many irrigation wells where water 
is lifted at the rate of 600 to 2,000 gallons per 
minute, with fine fields growing the commodi- 
ties of life* 

In 1900, the government set aside a large 
tract of land in Caddo County, Oklahoma, for 
people to draw for 160 acres of land* You 
put your application in for 160 acres and all 
the letters were placed in a large wooden wheel* 
Many more were placed in the wheel than there 
was land to go around* The wheel was turn- 
ed and all applications thoroughly stirred up; 
then a small door was opened and the letters 
numbered as they came out and the one that 
came out first was allowed to get the first choice 
or pick of this land, and so on down the line 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 253 

until the last one just got the leavings or quar- 
ter-sections that were practically worthless for 
farming purposes. 

But before the drawing of the white settlers 
started, all Indians and each member of the 
family down to the newly born baby, was al- 
lowed a pick of 160 acres of land each* 
The Indians were allowed up to a certain time 
to pick their land, and if they failed to do this, 
some member of the Indian Land Commission 
just went to the map of the alloted lands for 
settlement, and alloted him 160 acres. Now 
this put the Indian in a bad position; he might 
get a good quarter or he might get a sorry one, 
but let it be said that the Indians usually picked 
the best lands up and down the rivers and creeks 
with rich soil, as they knew where the best grass 
grew and that was where the best lands were* 
The government set a time limit of around 
twenty-five to thirty years before the Indian 
could sell his lands* Of course, when an In- 
dian died, his nearest relative automatically in- 
herited his lands. There were many white men 
in the country who were commonly known as 
squaw-men. This came about in a manner 
common at that time, as the cowboys and ranch- 
men in the country knew the government was 
going to allot these lands to the Indians, and if 
a white man married an Indian woman, that 
gave him the right to select 160 acres of land 
for himself and for each child born up to a cer- 
tain date. I am not saying that some of the 
marriages were not sincere, but I do know that 
many unscrupulous men took advantage of 
this and got a good farm. However, land was 



254 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

not worth much at that time, but they used 
some forethought to say the least, and acquired 
a home in a new country. 

Father drew a number that entitled him to 
select 160 acres. He was not one of the first, 
but he did select a fairly good quarter-section 
with some sixty acres or more of good farm 
land on it. We made the mistake of breaking up 
more than this amount which produced well 
for a few years and then began to wash away, 
due to the fact that the land was too rolling. At 
that time terracing of lands was unknown. It 
takes nature a hundred years to build one inch 
of top soil, and a hard rain, when the soil is in 
good state of cultivation, can wash it away in 
thirty minutes. The soil soon becomes so poor 
that it will hardly grow grass. I am personally 
of the opinion that every foot of land in 
America should be terraced, for we have rushed 
over this great country and have taken the 
cream from the soil and have not taken the 
time to build it up. But the time is here now 
when we have to give this some serious thought, 
for how will our posterity raise enough food 
to feed coming generations with soil that has 
been allowed to wash and blow away? 

When we moved to Oklahoma in 1900, I 
can truthfully say that was the finest grass 
country that I have ever seen. It was known 
as the cowman's paradise, as there was much 
prairie country with the brakes and creeks cov- 
ered with timber mostly of the oak varieties. 
These afforded the stock plenty of protection 
in winter and early grass in the bottoms in the 
spring. I have actually seen grass in creek- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 255 

bottoms and open glades, that had grown 
in one season to where you could be on a fair- 
ly good-sized horse of around nine hundred 
or a thousand pounds, and you could not see 
another man on a horse of the same size over a 
hundred yards away. It takes good soil to 
grow grass of that kind and all new lands pro- 
duce welL 

This fine grass in the fall after the frost had 
killed it, brought on a menace almost as serious 
as a forest fire if you can imagine a hard wind 
blowing and this tall grass that would average 
waist high all over the country on fire. It 
traveled almost as fast as a horse could lope. 
The only way you could save your home or 
wagon and team, if you were caught in the path 
of a prairie fire, was to back-fire. Almost all 
of the new settlers plowed a fire guard around 
their homes before they even started to build a 
house. If the wind was blowing real hard, the 
fire would often jump over the fire guard. 
However, the guard served a good purpose of 
slowing it down. A prairie fire, on a dark 
night in tall bunch grass is a sight never to be 
forgotten. 

I remember on one occasion there was a fire 
that was burning on the north side of a large 
ridge, which lay some two or more miles to the 
north of us. About eight o'clock one night a 
norther blew up. It was extremely dry at that 
time, and the wind blew the dry grass and fire 
up this ridge to the summit where it went 
into the air until the entire northern skies seem- 
ed to be on fire. It was a beautiful sight to be- 
hold, but rather scary. Too, I remember all 



256 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

of us children ran out into the yard very excit- 
ed; and the first thing Mother said was, "Do 
you suppose the world is coming to an end?" 
But it did not take Dad long to figure out that 
it was just a prairie fire. Folks who have seen 
a real dust storm come rolling up with the wind 
can imagine what it looked like* Usually it is 
very still before it strikes* That was the way 
it was with this bank of fire rolling up into 
the heavens. 

I remember another occasion in Wheeler 
County, Texas. We lived in a little town on 
the Rock Island Railroad. An old Bohemian 
was hauling a load of corn in the shuck, to 
town; and he said that he was smoking his 
pipe when the corn caught on fire and had made 
considerable headway before he noticed it. He 
started throwing it out with his hands and 
burned his hands so badly that he had to wear 
them swathed in bandages for over a month. 
Well, the burning corn set the prairie grass on 
fire. It had been a seasonable year and the 
dry grass was about waist high. A stiff norther 
was blowing right toward the little town where 
we lived, and the fire had about three miles of 
grass to get a good start in. It roared down on 
the little town and looked threatening for a 
time* I imagine there were some fifteen or twen- 
ty wooden buildings in the town, including a 
lumber yard and a frame hotel. The only thing 
that saved us, the town was on the south side 
of the railroad. They had a big fire-guard 
plowed on each side of the road. The railroad 
dump stopped the fire, but it got as black as 
night with soot and dust. However, a prairie 



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HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 257 

fire burns out quickly, for it hasn't any sub- 
stance to continue a fire for any length of time. 
In fact, a man on a good horse that will obey 
him can usually find a gap that he can spur 
the horse through. He must not fool along but 
jump through it like a scared rabbit. However, 
in rank grass, this would be a dangerous un- 
dertaking. 

I remember when Father drew the claim, he 
and Uncle Bob, Father's brother, took two cov- 
ered wagons and moved all of our belongings 
from Cooke County, Texas, where we were 
living at that time, to the new home. They 
built what we called a half-dugout. You dig 
down into the ground about five or six feet and 
put your walls down on the smooth dirt floor. 
Then you pile the dirt you have dug out of 
the hole up against the walls, which leaves the 
building about half in the ground and half out; 
hence the name half-dugout. They lived in this 
until they could build us a home on top of the 
ground. These dugouts served two purposes: 
one, as a warm house, and another as a safe 
refuge when one of these so-called cyclones 
swept across the country. 

Mother and three children younger than I, 
one of Mother's sisters, and myself, all came to 
Anadarko on the train, and Father met us in a 
wagon. We journeyed to our new home about 
sixteen miles away in a southwesterly direction. 
One of the things that impressed me most in the 
new country was that prairie-chickens flew up 
along the trail or wagon-road that cut across the 
prairie almost as regularly as you will see grass- 
hoppers flying out of your path in the summer 



258 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

time. In all this distance of sixteen miles 
travel, there was only one two-room house 
about half way. It was called the old Chilie- 
wax place (in Indian language it means Big 
Woman} . I am not vouching for Indian spell- 
ing and am spelling it like it sounded* This 
house was a landmark and served to direct trav- 
elers, as it stood close to a ridge between two 
large canyons and that was the only way you 
could get through that particular part of the 
country. It was an old Indian ranch head- 
quarters. Later, Mother's youngest sister con- 
tested a claim that the owner had failed to live 
out his alloted time before he could prove up 
on it. She won the contest and owns the land 
to this day. I stayed with her before she proved 
up on the claim, so she would have a witness 
that she had lived on it so many days out of 
each month. 

The government required a certain amount 
of improvements and some kind of living- 
quarters on the land before they would give you 
a grant or deed to the land. Then your land 
become taxable. The Indian's land was free 
from taxation for a certain number of years, 
but if an Indian should sell his land to a white 
man, then it become taxable at once* It seems 
that we have more politicians in this modern 
age to support than the Indians did. 

An uncle, Sid T. iAllen, who now lives on 
a large irrigated farm south of Roswell, New 
Mexico, and has raised seven fine boys and two 
girls, was a young man at that time and a great 
hunter. He visited us and later settled in the 
country. We had plenty of game to eat, for 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 259 

there was no such thing as a game law or a 
warden. People never heard of such a thing. 
In fact, the prairie-chickens came near to eating 
up all the first grain crops that we planted. I 
remember well one Christmas day that four 
men, including my uncle and I, went quail 
hunting with two good dogs. I was just large 
enough to pack a gun and tag along. If a quail 
lit in a bush, I could shoot it out but was not 
strong enough to line up a large shotgun on 
birds in the air. These men were all good wing 
shots and never thought of shooting a bird on 
the ground or potting them. They killed over 
four hundred birds that day. I killed four or 
five and was perhaps prouder of my achieve- 
ments than they were. We had a feast and all 
of our neighbors shared in the spoils. 

There were places where you could go where 
the birds had a great deal of protection. You 
could not go over a hundred yards without one 
of the dogs setting a large bunch of bobwhites 
that would fly into the air like a bomb ex- 
ploding. The bunches were so large that I 
would be afraid to estimate how many birds 
there were in them. As I said, there were no 
game laws; you could kill them as soon as they 
got big enough to eat. However, let it be said 
I never knew of anyone killing birds during the 
mating season. 

Back to the prairie fire. I am confident they 
were destructive to the game birds. However, 
during the mating season the grass had started 
to get green and that eliminated the fire hazards 
to a great extent for the newly hatched birds. 

The prairie-chicken is something like a full- 



260 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

blooded Indian; he does not adapt himself much 
to civilization; he is a migrator and will de- 
part for places unknown if he is molested too 
much. The best time and place to kill them, 
unless you have a good bird dog that has been 
trained on chickens, is early in the morning or 
late in the afternoon, placing yourself along- 
side of a grain field such as maize or kaffer- 
corn. They will fly in to feed and if you are 
a good wing shot, you can soon kill all the 
birds you want, or perhaps I should say need, 
I have seen them fly into a corn field just 
about sun-down in Wheeler County, Texas, 
in 1907, until they would cast a shadow on the 
earth or almost darken the skies. Of course, 
corn fields were scarcer than the birds, and they 
all gathered for miles around to the feast. I 
had an old double-barrel ten gauge shotgun 
that I could hardly get to my shoulder, for I 
was still a youngster; but I learned to bring it 
up until I got it in line with the chicken and to 
pull the trigger, and distance did not count for 
so much; the chicken usually tumbled. 

I had a little white dog named Bill that was 
not related to a bird-dog in any manner, but he 
could track them unusually well. He would 
stand and watch me shoot, keeping his eye on 
the bird, and if he wavered, was crippled, or 
dropped dead, he would pounce after the bird 
and seldom failed to find him. A wounded 
chicken will sometimes fly a half mile or more, 
especially down a sloping prairie and hit the 
ground and roll like a ball, and you can go pick 
him up stone dead. However, with a wing 
broken, that is a different story; for he will hit 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 261 

the ground running like a blue quail, and un- 
less you have a dog that can trail him, it's like 
looking for a needle in a hay stack, for nature 
has endowed him with a coat of feathers just 
like the bunch grass when winter has turned it 
to golden brown. The old birds late in the 
winter grow very wild and will usually flush 
far out of shooting distance* The best time 
to hunt them is about the time the youngsters 
reach maturity. They will let you kick them 
out, and they will cackle just like an old barn- 
yard hen when she has laid an egg. It is a sight 
long to be remembered for a large bunch of 
prairie-chickens to flush all around your feet. 
They sometimes consist of from fifty to a hun- 
dred birds, and all of them cackling. It's really 
hard for a good shot to miss them. 

When my father was running a livery stable 
in Wheeler County, Texas, I have driven 
drummers or knights of the grip that is what 
we called them in those days. We would 
go out over the prairie in a Spaldin hack and 
two or three men could kill a hack-bed full of 
game in a few hours time, for almost any kind 
of game is not afraid of anyone on horseback 
or driving a team. So the later generation 
helped to destroy the game birds of America 
just like the buffalo hunter destroyed the buf- 
falo; they killed for the hides and tongue or 
hump; and I knew market hunters when I 
was a boy in Oklahoma, that sold quail and 
prairie-chicken. 

About the time we arrived at our new home 
that Father had built in Oklahoma, we were in 
need of some cows to stock the new place with, 



262 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

and he and a neighbor went over to the mouth 
of a small stream that headed on our place 
called Kechi, an Indian name. (I am only spell- 
ing it like it sounds.) It was about eight miles 
from home. They had bought a few head of 
cattle and started back home when there was a 
prairie fire. This was very common. They 
were usually left alone until they burned them- 
selves out. In this section when Father was driv- 
ing the cattle back home he passed a newcomer's 
homestead, named Bert Hand who had left his 
wife and two small children at home in a small 
house and had gone to Anadarko for a load of 
lumber which was a hard day's drive. This good 
man had taken the precaution to plow a large 
fire guard around the house and had a barrel of 
water in the yard. Of course, stock and people, 
building, will trample the grass down to where 
it would not burn so fast; but this fire was ap- 
proaching the house and this good woman who 
no doubt was not schooled in the hazards of 
a new country and did not know how to pro- 
tect herself from dangers must have thought the 
fire was sure to reach the house. Father said 
he saw her leave the house with a baby in her 
arms leading a little girl and started for some 
plowed land about half a mile from the house. 
He told the man with him that she did not have 
a chance to make the plowed land at the rate 
the fire was traveling. He and father were a 
considerable distance from the fire, but they 
started to her as fast as their horses could run, 
but the fire had overtaken her before they could 
get to her, and in her excitement, she just kept 
running for the plowed land as fast as she 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 263 

could* Dad and this man jumped their horses 
through the fire but when they reached this 
woman and her children they were all practical- 
ly beyond help. He said the little girl gasped 
once after he picked her up* When the father 
returned with a load of lumber for a new home 
he found another price paid for the settlement 
or pioneer life in a new country* The most 
tragic part of this story was that if the lady 
had only stayed in the house, she would not 
have brought herself and her children to this 
untimely death, for the fire swept by and did 
not set the house on fire* 

As I stated before, dry grass makes a quick, 
hot fire that soon dies down and does not burn 
long enough usually to set a house on fire* Her 
husband or some old cattleman should have 
told her the old Indian way of doing* to back- 
fire* This precaution is very simple* When 
you see a prairie fire approaching, just set the 
grass on fire where you are and the wind will 
start it burning away from you, and you can 
drive the wagon train or walk after the fire* 
The space that is burned off will make a safe 
haven or refuge for yourself and wagon or live- 
stock* But the pioneers that pour into a new 
country are not familiar with the hazards of 
that particular country and nature in the rough 
usually takes a certain toll of life in various 
forms* 

Father soon opened up a country store and 
we had many Indian customers* I soon found 
out that the old full-bloods were long on signs 
and short on speech* 

I remember on one occasion an Indian family 



264 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

had bought some groceries and were eating their 
lunch near our welL I was standing around 
like the usual boy, all eyes; and they were talk- 
ing to one another and using plenty of sign 
language. There was a young Indian maiden 
rather pretty, but five or six years older than I, 
and of course, she held no particular charm for 
me; but the conversation died down when the 
eating started. She turned to me and said 
something in perfect English, and I was so 
dumbfounded, I don't remember if I even an- 
swered her. That really embarrassed me, and 
I soon found some business elsewhere. She had 
been away to schooL 

We hadn't had the store opened long before 
an old cowman came in and told Dad that when 
he was selling an Indian anything that he had 
to weigh it, like sugar, beans or coffee. He told 
him never to put too much on the scales and 
then remove it until it balanced, but to watch 
them and keep adding to the purchase until the 
required amount was placed in the sack. Father 
even went so far as to weigh bacon in the same 
manner, but starting with a piece that he was 
sure would not weigh over the desired amount 
the Indian wanted, then adding strips until the 
scales balanced. The old cowman said the full- 
bloods thought you were cheating them if you 
took anything back after you had placed it on 
the scales. 

On one occasion, an old Indian and his 
squaw, all wrapped in rich-colored blankets, 
came to the store. Dad asked him why he did 
not come more often and he said, "Too far/' 
Father then asked him where he lived and the 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 265 

road he had traveled to get there, and he told 
Father mostly in sign language. Father des- 
cribed another road for him to use going back, 
which was down a ridge between two large 
canyons. It was shorter but very rough. The 
Indian took this road home. He came back to 
the store later and Father asked him how he 
liked the new road and I never will forget how 
he described it* He only said two words, "Top 
much/' Then he took his hand and made it 
go up and down to indicate that the road was 
almost all up and down all the way. 

A white child seemed to cause a fascination 
among full-blooded Indians. My brother, 
seven years younger than I, was just a tow- 
headed youngster running around the place and 
the Indians tried to buy him time and again. 
This never did set too well with Mother. She 
could not get over the fact that they used to 
make raids into Texas, not offering to buy a 
child, but taking it and raising it up to be an 
Indian. They would take silver out of their 
pockets and keep adding to the pile and point- 
ing to the boy. Mother would keep shaking 
her head until the Indian had concluded the 
child was not worth all that money and usual- 
ly he would put his money back into his pocket 
with a shrug and a grunt. AH of this may 
have been a huge joke with them, but not with 
Mother, 

Most of the Indians had plenty of dogs, and 
we children were told that they ate the puppies. 
That did not set so well with me, as a good 
dog was my best companion in those days. 

A new school house was soon erected about 



266 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

a mile from where we lived. It was a one- 
room building with a one-man teacher, teach- 
ing all grades. The first year, we sat on home- 
made benches made by men who were not too 
skilled with a saw and hammer; but the next 
year we had factory-built double seats. This 
was a sight to behold to the kids; for the ben- 
ches ranged in size from small ones for the 
little fellows to seats large enough for the 
grown-up children. 

There was a hill not far from the school 
house and in the winter time, it afforded an 
excellent place for rattlesnakes to hibernate in. 
School was usually out before the snakes were, 
but people lived near those homes of the snakes. 
Several hundred were usually killed in the 
spring when they crawled out of their dens to 
warm up in the spring sunshine. Lots of these 
old fellows were really mossbacks, for the In- 
dian's theory or adage of a snake is that if you 
leave him alone, he will leave you alone. 
There were plenty of snakes for the settlers to 
kill. I remember on many occasions that I 
just missed by a hair's breath being bitten by 
one of them. 

On one occasion when Father had acquired a 
fair-sized bunch of yearlings, it was my job to 
herd the cattle out on an Indian quarter that 
adjoined our land which no one was using. 
I had acquired quite a reputation as a runner 
and could tail or head any yearling in the herd 
on foot. We had plenty of horses but they 
were of the mustang type, and Father was afraid 
for me to ride them. The work horses he had 
to use in farming, and he was sure I could not 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 267 

hurt myself on foot. Later we acquired old 
Jim who was an Indian cow-pony that had 
been trained as a cutting horse. "Cutting" 
means to take right after a certain yearling or 
cow and drive him out of a herd. Most of my 
work was herding cattle when I was a boy, 
and it did not call for the cutting type of horse. 
It was hard for old Jim to get it into his head 
that I wanted to pass the cow and turn her back 
toward the herd or home. For some reason, 
at that time, I never owned a saddle. A horse 
and saddle both for newcomers would have 
been too much of a luxury, and the men had all 
the saddles. I had to ride bareback, Indian 
style. Jim was fat and round as a barrel and 
could stop and turn on a dime and give you 
back fifteen cents in change; and when this 
quick stopping took place, I would hold onto 
his mane as long as I could and then go on 
over his head and have to jump back on and 
start all over after the cow; but usually this 
commotion of a boy going over a horse's head 
would turn the cow. 

I remember that Jim's cutting tactics came 
near to being serious for the rider. I was try- 
ing to head a yearling and drive it back to the 
herd in a part of the pasture where the timber 
and black-jack brush were rather thick. We 
were approaching it at a fast clip, a rather 
large clump of bushes with a tree in the center 
of them, and the yearling went on the right 
side of the bushes. Old Jim was right at the 
yearling's tail and I turned his head and leaned 
my body to go to the left side of the bushes. 
If Jim had done what I intended for him to 



268 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

do, we could have beat the yearling to the other 
side and turned him back. But he started to do 
my bidding as directed. Then he must have 
remembered his cutting days and changed his 
mind, for he whirled back to the right and fol- 
lowed the yearling so quickly that I went right 
on straight toward the black-jack tree in the 
clump of bushes. If the bushes had not caught 
all around my face and shoulders, I probably 
would not be telling you this story now. When 
I crawled out of the bushes I looked like a 
wildcat had been fighting me. I would have 
traded old Jim off for a plugged dime. My 
head went so close to that tree, tho' fool-hardy 
boy that I was, I realized I had had a close calL 
When I related this story to Mother and told 
her that I could probably have stayed on the 
horse if I had had a saddle well, you can im- 
agine all of the rest* If there is anything a wes- 
tern boy craves any more than a pair of boots 
and saddle, I don't know what it is. 

I also had a good dog to help me herd the 
cattle. But he would wander off some place 
hunting as most dogs will, and on one occasion 
a particular yearling was trying to go to a bunch 
of Indian cattle that were grazing in a valley 
some distance away. I was putting out all of 
the steam I had in order to head the yearling 
and did not pay as much attention as I should 
have to the ground I was running over. But 
some sixth sense or primitive instinct caused 
me to glance down, and right in front of me 
was a huge, coiled, diamond-backed rattlesnake 
all ready for business. I was running too fast 
to either stop or turn to the right or left, and 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 269 

so all I could do was go into the air. And be- 
lieve you me, that is what I did. I am mak- 
ing no pretensions as to how high I went, but 
when a fellow is running at full speed, he can 
make a fair sized high broad- jump. And to 
make things worse, I was barefooted. I could 
imagine that snake's fangs sinking into the bot- 
tom of my feet as I went over. I went so far into 
the air that he never moved a muscle. Perhaps 
he thought some bird had just flown over him 
casting its shadow. When I hit the ground, I 
forgot the yearling and called my dog who 
made short work of that snake. 

It is a work of art to watch dogs that 
really know how to kill a rattlesnake, as they 
certainly know how to get the job done. They 
usually have to be bitten about once to produce 
hatred for the snake. This produces caution 
which is very necessary, for a large rattler is 
really a dangerous customer when you get him 
riled up. He is a gentleman in some respects, 
and will give you fair warning; and wants you 
to respect him by leaving him strictly alone. 
If you don't, he seems to have an awful temper, 
for I have teased them with a long stick until 
they became so furious that I would turn and 
run. Old Shep was a master at the art of killing 
snakes. He would circle round and round the 
rattlesnake barking furiously, with the snake 
rattling all the time. The dog would get closer 
and closer in his circles inducing the snake to 
strike at him which he was sure to do; but the 
dog was expecting this and was always prepar- 
ed. He would jump back just far enough to get 
out of the reach when the snake struck his full 



270 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

length, and would spring forward and grab him 
about the middle of the snake's body; then he 
would shake him for all he was worth. When 
he laid down the snake, there was usually one 
piece in his mouth and two other pieces had 
gone in different directions* 

I remember a young dog I owned, which 
had learned to kill snakes with the old dogs, 
and he had never been bitten, hence his care- 
lessness* He had no trouble in killing the snakes 
and seemed to dodge them like any dog would 
dodge a blow. On this particular occasion, I 
was taking Father a drink of water to where he 
was plowing and we ran across a large rattle- 
snake. The young dog soon made short work 
of him. The head came off with about three or 
four inches of his body, and rolled within about 
six feet of me. The dog seemed to be proud of 
his achievement and went around smelling off 
the pieces. I was examining the snake's rattles 
to see how many he had and never noticed the 
dog until it was too late. The mouth of the 
snake was laying wide open and this foolish 
young dog went up and stick his nose into the 
jaws of that snake, which must have contract- 
ed. Anyway, it closed down on the dog's nose 
and the poor fellow ran backwards pawing at 
his nose with both forefeet. He finally raked 
it loose. I immediately started to the house 
with the dog and his head was swollen badly 
before we arrived. I told Mother what had 
happened and she gave him all of the fat meat 
he could eat He was surely a sick dog for sev- 
eral days and his head swelled out of proportion. 
We thought he would die, but he got well and 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 271 

after that, he had a particular hatred for all 
snakes, and never seemed more happy than 
when he was killing them. This time was the 
only one I remember of his being bitten by one 
of them. 

Horses that have been reared in the country 
where there are a lot of rattlesnakes can smell 
them and seem to sense danger* They will get 
very nervous when you force them close to a 
snake. They are like the Indian who will leave 
them strictly alone and say the snake will do 
likewise. In fact, most animals will give the 
rattlesnake wide berth, all except the buck deer 
who seems to be their enemy. 

I have heard my grandfather tell that on 
numbers of occasions he has seen buck deer dis- 
cover a rattlesnake. He said their bristles or hair 
on their backs would turn up just like a dog's 
when they were mad. They would go close 
enough to the snake to make it coil ready to 
strike, and then would back off a short distance 
and run and bound into the air and come 
down with all four feet in a bunch, with the 
hoofs sticking straight down. The instant 
they hit the ground, they would bound off be- 
fore the snake had time to strike. They would 
do this two or three times and then go on about 
their business. Grandfather said on every oc- 
casion on which he had gone to look at the rat- 
tler, he would find him cut up to where death 
was only a matter of hours. 

Of course, you know the old story that a 
snake will move its tail until after sundown, 
if killed in the morning. Don't ask me why 
they do it, but when a boy I had enough curi- 



272 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

osity to investigate this tale on a number of 
occasions, and I found it to be true* I have 
heard a number of old timers say that if you 
killed a snake after sundown he would wiggle 
his tail until the next day after sundown. That, 
I cannot vouch for. I do not remember killing 
one that late in the afternoon. But all snakes 
I have killed in the daytime will move the end 
of their tails every once in a while until the 
sun goes down. 

I imagine the average size of a rattlesnake 
is around three feet in length, and about the 
size of an average hoe-handle in circumference 
in the largest part of its body, or about the 
middle. I have killed them larger, and have 
heard of some very large ones, but I do not re- 
call ever killing one over six feet long. In 
Eddy County, New Mexico, I saw a snake- 
skin over the door of a filling station that was 
supposed to be nine feet in length. The Buck- 
horn Saloon in San Antonio, Texas, has a dried 
tanned rattlesnake skin that is nine feet and a 
few inches in length. I don't think the rattles 
on the snake's tail denote his age, for they can 
easily be broken off, and I have killed some 
large snakes with a less number of rattles than 
snakes far smaller in size had. 

A full grown person will seldom die from 
a rattlesnake bite. However, they suffer death 
many times. But their heart is usually strong 
enough to withstand the shock of the poison. 
A child's heart is not strong enough to stand 
the shock from a fully matured snake that 
makes a direct hit and injects a full supply of 
venom into their blood stream. I have known 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 273 

of numbers of children dying from rattlesnake 
bite. 

The home of the rattlesnake is a prairie-dog- 
town, where they have plenty of food; such as 
rabbits and rats that use the old abandoned 
holes* I have heard stories about the prairie 
dog, little horned-owls, and snakes all living 
together in harmony, but this is not my opin- 
ion. If a rattlesnake has a friend or playmate, 
I have never heard of it or seen it manifested. 
On one occasion I broke forty acres of sod land 
in a prairie-dog town, using a turning plow 
drawn by three mules. I had a good dog that 
knew how to kill snakes, and in turning this 
forty acres of land, we killed over forty odd 
rattlesnakes. Strange to say, none of the mules 
were bitten in this work. However, we used 
all the precaution that we knew to protect 
them. Once I heard a rattling and looked up 
and a large rattler was being kicked around by 
their feet just like a stiff broom-stick. He 
was trying to form a coil and their feet kept 
hitting him, and lucky for them, he was not 
able to coil. He passed through, back to the 
plow and needless to say, I gave him plenty of 
space, for by that time he was plenty mad. 
He immediately coiled, ready for business. I 
called the dog who made short work of him. 

But of all of the things to be feared in a new 
country, it is the outcast of our own race. We 
usually know what to expect from other 
sources, but no one knows what to expect from 
a degenerate white man who has committed 
some crime which has made him a wanted and 
hunted man where he came from. In the early 



274 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

days, if a man committed a crime he usually 
went to Oklahoma or the old Indian Territory. 
That was before these states came into the 
Union. The country was new and partially 
unsettled. Communication was slow and 
there were numerous fine places for him to hide 
out in the day time and sally forth at night to 
steal horses and cattle, or do anything that could 
be turned into quick, ready cash. You can 
imagine what a mixed community of people 
we lived among, with the drawing for land 
eligible to all naturalized citizens of the United 
States. Some were as fine people as ever lived 
and some were not so good. All the require- 
ments that were necessary to enter the drawing 
were that you be of age and had never prev- 
iously used your homestead right. We had 
neighbors from almost every state in. the Union. 
But we were the only Texas family, and many 
were the good humored jests poked at me as a 
boy for being from Texas. 

Everyone thought we had horns, for the 
country was full of Longhorn cattle that were 
supposed to be from Texas, or at least that was 
where they originated. I have attended round- 
ups to dehorn cattle in 1900 where many of 
them had horns so long that you could not get 
the steers into the dehorning shoots without 
first sawing the end of their horns off to short- 
en them, so they could pass on into the main 
clamp gate where the cowboys could draw their 
heads out to a snubbing post. This post was 
tied tightly with a strong rope and one man 
would sit on the rope to hold it tight while an- 
other sawed the horns off close to their heads. 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 275 

This dehorning served many purposes. One 
was to gentle the cattle and keep them from 
skinning each other up when put into fenced 
pastures where they would not have as much 
room as they had on the open range country 
they were accustomed to* There is something 
about removing the horns of an animal that 
seems to take the courage or fight away from 
them. 

I remember on one occasion Dad posted an 
old, yellow, stray, Indian cow, according to 
law, and no one even claimed her. She was a 
rather large cow with extremely long horns, 
and very bad to fight the other cattle. We had 
a Durham milk cow that was very good natured 
and we were all rather fond of her. It was 
really pathetic the way the old Indian cow 
would boss the cow lot around milking time. 
And she seemed to take a particular joy in tor- 
menting old Rose which had no horns at all. 
Dad soon got tired of that so as soon as cold 
weather came, he and Uncle Sid roped the old 
Indian cow, hog-tied her, and proceeded to saw 
her horns off. When they turned her loose, 
she got up slinging her head. Old Rose took 
one good look at her, let out a bawl, and 
lunged at the old dehorned cow and butted 
her all the way out of the lot and down into 
the pasture. The Indian cow never offered any 
more fight from then on. 

I recently talked with an old cowboy who 
not many years ago worked on a large moun- 
tain ranch in Arizona where lots of cattle had 
gone wild and they could not round them up 
to market, or work them as cattle have to be, 



276 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

regularly. Cattle will go wild even in this day* 
The high grade Herefords, where they range in 
a rough country with plenty of protection and 
are not molested often or associated with man 
constantly, will soon become very wild* This 
cowboy said they worked in pairs, and would 
rope wild steers or cows and tie them up to a 
tree* Then they would take a cotton rope and 
tie the ends of their horns together and twist 
the rope up tight and leave it that way; then 
come back about the second day; and if the 
animal showed fight, they would leave him 
alone and come back the next day* He stated 
that they would eventually get so gentle that 
you could take a good strong twine string and 
lead them into the ranch headquarters without 
the animals showing any fight whatsoever* 

They have some wild cattle on the Matador 
Ranch at this time, in what is known as the 
Croten brakes which is a rough broken coun- 
try east of the Caprock, on the headwaters 
of the Wichita River in West Texas* There is 
an old lady named Mrs* Dumont living in 
Paducah, Texas, who is now past ninety years 
of age* When she was a young woman, there 
was a large bunch of cattle being driven west 
across this part of Texas, and they had been 
driven a long way without water* The water 
from this stream is extremely gypsum and she 
told the trail-boss of this herd not to let them 
drink that water* He disregarded her advice 
and the cattle died up and down this Croten 
creek by the hundreds* This same old lady has 
seen the Comanche Indians camped up and 
down the creeks of Motley and Cottle counties 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 277 

by the hundreds, on their hunting expeditions 
into the West during the fall of the year. Her 
first husband froze to death while driving a 
freight wagon from Paducah to Quanah. 

No picture of pioneer life would be complete 
without relating a few of the many hardships 
which we had to endure when we moved to 
Oklahoma in 1900 to live on our claim. One 
was carrying water out of a deep canyon for 
household purposes until we could get a well 
dug. Then after the well was completed, we 
had no windmill for over two years, only a 
pump with a long handle. I have pumped 
water by the hour, reaching up and grasping 
the handle, then jumping up and down using 
my entire weight to assist me in raising the 
water, for I was not large enough to do other- 
wise. When wash day came, Mother, her sister 
and we children would take the laundry to the 
canyon and wash, hanging the clothes on bush- 
es to dry. 

The year of 1906 will be remembered by me 
so long as I may live, for tragedy on every hand 
stalked our footsteps. The Death Angel hov- 
ered over our home for many months. Father, 
when a young man, was run over by a stallion 
that stepped on his left lung. This injury 
bothered him at intervals when he had a bad 
cold or worked too hard. This particular sum- 
mer he was around thirty-eight years old. He 
took a severe cold in the late spring that linger- 
ed along for some time, with him unable to re- 
gain his former strength. About the month of 
July it developed into an abscess on his injured 
lung. The doctors said it would be useless to 



278 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

operate and drain the lung, for he was too weak 
to stand a major operation of this kind; so 
the only course left for him to live was to cough 
it up; this he did over a period of a month or 
more. Thus I had the experience of watching 
a man fight for his life with every ounce of re- 
serve energy that he possessed. I think it can 
be truthfully said that if he had been a man 
that had dissipated in his past life, he could 
not have survived. He has never used tobacco 
in any form and intoxicating liquor was never 
used in our home unless as a medicine or oc- 
casionally around Christmas times in an old 
fashioned egg-nog. The doctor told Mother he 
would never live and had it not been for her 
nursing, always at his side and never complain- 
ing, it is doubtful that he would have pulled 
through. All the neighbors thought he had 
tuberculosis; in fact, no one thought he would 
get well but Mother; she never gave up hope. 
I might say he is living today at the age of 
seventy-two and is still able to do a hard day's 
work. The doctor said if he did live he would 
never be able to chop wood or hoe cotton, as 
the lining that surrounded the lung was weak- 
ened and the lung had grown back to his side. 
Doctors can be mistaken, for he went back to 
work just as soon as he regained his strength, 
and gradually went to doing all the work the 
doctors said he would never do. It was not 
many years before he could hoe his own row 
and help me on mine. 

The summer Father was so sick was very hot 
and dry. We had twenty-five or thirty head of 
cattle. The grass started drying up and we had 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 279 

to feed them. We were also milking about 
twelve cows. I am seven years older than my 
younger brother, so the responsibility of run- 
ning the farm fell on my shoulders, with Moth- 
er helping and advising me all she could. Money 
was scarce, but we had a large field of corn that 
had started to dry up just about roasting-ear 
time. I started in cutting this corn, stalk and 
all, and feeding it to the cattle. Flies were ex- 
tremely bad that year, and almost ran the 
horses frantic; they would fight them with all 
their might and would even run away with the 
wagon if I did not tie the lines up real tight 
and put the break on each time I stopped to cut 
the corn. Then they would run their heads 
under the neck-yoke or wagon-tongue, fighting 
the flies, and get all tangled up in the harness so 
badly that I would have to untangle them each 
time before I could drive the wagon on to an- 
other stand of corn. In this way I would final- 
ly complete the load. Needless to say those 
hungry cows could eat the corn faster than I 
could cut it. They were always hungry and I 
was always tired. We had to do the milking 
after dark and before daylight, for the flies 
would cause the cows to kick like a wild mule. 
Mother would always help me when possible. 
I would get so sleepy and worn out that it took 
every ounce of will power that I possessed to 
keep going. I knew that Father should not be 
worried, for Grandfather had told me he did 
not think Father would get well. Mother was 
to have a baby some time that year. All these 
troubles and hungry cattle to be fed all on the 
mind of a thirteen-year-old boy. I will let the 



280 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

reader judge as to the responsibility resting on 
those young shoulders* 

The baby born in October of that year is my 
youngest brother, W. V. Maddox. How could 
a boy born under such circumstances do any- 
thing else other than work with cattle? He 
holds two degrees, one from Texas A, and M. 
College, the other from Oklahoma A. and M., 
specializing in animal husbandry and dairy 
manufactured products. He works out of Texas 
A. and M. as State Extension Service man, 
Do you believe in prenatal care? Noted authori- 
ties say the thoughts and actions of the mother, 
for the last six months before a child is born, 
have more to do with its future life than a col- 
lege education. The facts just stated would seem 
to substantiate this. 

Uncle Charles Jones was an intimate friend 
of the writer. He passed on to the 'last round- 
up" in 1934. He was an old-time cowboy 
who told me one time about an old brindle 
steer that had extremely long horns. This 
steer had reached the age of eight or nine years 
and was considered an outlaw. He would al- 
ways break out of the round-up and go back 
into the brakes or rough country. He had done 
this for years and aggravated the cowboys by 
usually taking a few of the wilder cattle with 
him. I guess he must have done this once too 
often, for Mr. Jones said on one particular 
round-up he was riding a good strong roping 
horse and had picked a good man to follow him 
so that he was able to rope the old steer who 
immediately turned and made a dash for his 
horse. About that time his partner put his 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 281 

rope on the hind feet of the animal and strung 
him out* A good cow-horse, well trained, will 
keep the rope tight in an instance of this kind. 
They jumped off and hog-tied the steer, but 
had no saw in the chuck- wagon; all they could 
find was a chopping ax* So they proceeded to 
chop his horns off just like you would cut a 
stick of wood. This may sound very brutal to 
the reader, but sometimes drastic measures had 
to be resorted to on the open range* Mr. Jones 
said when the job was completed, they jerked 
the ropes off of him and made a clash for their 
horses, and the old steer got up shaking his head 
and went back into the herd and stayed there* 
He gave no more trouble while shipping the 
cattle, 

I remember that on the old Bar L O in Col- 
lingsworth, Texas, they had a Hereford bull 
with extremely long horns that had got very 
unruly* He would go through any kind of a 
fence and was always fighting with other bulls, 
and doing just as about as he pleased* The 
owner of the ranch meditated over selling him 
for this bull had very good breeding* He 
warned all of the neighboring ranchers that this 
bull was dangerous. A young fellow whom I 
knew quite well when I was a boy but whose 
name I cannot recall at this time, was working 
for a neighbor rancher and was driving a bunch 
of cattle through the Barlow Ranch* He had 
driven the herd through the ranch and this bull 
kept following them* The cowboy cut him 
back several times, until the bull got mad* The 
boy was young and probably as hot-headed as 
the bull, and the last time he cut him back the 



282 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

bull whirled quickly and drove one of his horns 
into the bay mare and killed her. She reared 
up and the boy fell off and the bull whirled and 
went on into the herd. The mare ran off about 
one hundred yards and dropped dead in ten or 
fifteen minutes. 

In North Texas, where my parents now live, 
when I was a youngster they shipped a bunch of 
longhorn South Texas steers in to be put on 
grass. A cowboy was riding a beautiful iron 
grey horse and they were harassing and chasing 
the cattle until they had them hot and mad. 
One of these old steers lunged at this horse and 
ran one horn straight into the horse's breast 
some six or eight inches. I didn't see the act 
committed but I was living with Dr. W. N. 
Kelley at that time, taking care of his horses 
for my board and room. This was before the 
day of the automobile. The owner of the horse 
came for the doctor to see if he could stop the 
blood, for the horn must have struck very close 
to the horse's heart, for when the doctor got 
there the horse had bled until he was reeling. 
The doctor took grab-forceps and probed 
around until the blood slowed down; then he 
would leave the forceps attached to a blood ves- 
sel and take another pair and do it the same 
way. It took four or five forceps to stop the 
blood. They were left there until the next day; 
then removed, and the horse was left in the 
stable for a few days. He fully recovered. So 
the horns the Longhorns wore were a weapon 
that he was fully aware of. In fact, he wasn't 
afraid of anything unless it was lightning 
which would cause a stampede in a split second. 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 283 

I have known many old cowboys and cow- 
men that went up the trail to Kansas with these 
trail-herds that were usually started from 
South Texas, or in and around San Antonio, 
Texas. The old Chisholm Trail went right 
through the western portion of Cooke County, 
Texas, which lies north of Fort Worth about 
sixty miles. One branch went west of this one to 
Doan's Store or Crossing on Red River, where 
they crossed into old Oklahoma or Indian Ter- 
ritory* I lived in Cooke County as a boy and 
practiced my profession there as a man. This 
trail went on in a northerly direction and pass- 
ed a little to the west of Anadarko, Oklahoma, 
on the Washita River. I have seen these trails 
by the hundreds that had been worn out deep- 
ly on the clay hills in that part of the country. 

Old time cowmen have said that they 
were worn by the many herds of cattle that 
had been driven up the trail to market which 
was usually Abilene, Kansas. This town was a 
general distributing point for the northern 
market where the cattle contacted the end of the 
railroad at that time. These herds usually con- 
sisted of from a few hundred to as many as 
three thousand head, seldom over that ^ many, 
for it made it hard to water the herd with too 
many cattle. The herd must also live off the 
range while passing through the country. It 
usually required from about twelve to fifteen 
men with their mounts which consisted of from 
five to eight horses per man. They always had 
a horse rangier to look after the remuda which 
consisted of all the horses. The cowboy's song 



284 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

of Little Joe the Wrangler must have been 
created on one of these drives up the trail. 

The men who went up the trail had plenty 
of hardships, such as crossing swollen streams 
like Red River, the Canadian, and the Cim- 
arron, all of which were treacherous during a 
rise. The dreaded quicksand was the cow- 
man's nightmare. In addition to the natural 
hazards, such as storms which cause stampedes, 
there were the Indians that usually demanded a 
tribute for passing through their country, in the 
form of a few fat steers to be butchered for a 
feast. Then, the last but most hazardous of all 
were the outlaws or cast-offs of our own race, 
at the end of the trail. Gambling, drinking 
and wild women were more hazardous than the 
lands they had driven the cattle through. In 
the western pioneer towns of Kansas human life 
was of very little value. 

In one of these towns Wild Bill Hickok ac- 
quired his fame as a law enforcement officer and 
world famous marksman with a six-shooter. 
The famous marshal was one of the first men 
that J. Wright Mooar of Snyder, Texas, an old 
buffalo hunter, met. And he has never forgotten 
the advice the officer gave him: "Son, you are 
just a boy in a tough country, let me give you 
some advice. Never think out loud; never 
argue; never take a soft drink over the bar, 
shun bad company, and do what is right, 
and you will come through all right/* This 
is good advice today to any young man. The 
gun was the symbol of law and order in those 
days, for it was the unwritten law in the West 
at that time. In stampeding, a herd would run 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 285 

in every direction unless you could get them 
milling (running in a circle) ; then they would 
run themselves down. If the cowboys could 
not accomplish this, the cattle would scatter all 
over the country. Thieves would pick up 
scattering bunches and drive them farther away 
and hide them until the main herd had passed 
on. The gun was the only means of control- 
ling this menace* 

An electrical storm was the dread of all cow- 
boys. The cattle would all stand up, too nervr 
ous to lie down and rest. And that is where 
many a cowboy ballad was born, for if the night 
men would ride around the herd singing songs, 
this seemed to quiet the cattle. It is usually 
deathly still preceding a storm, and when a keen 
clap of lightning bursts out of the sky, they 
will all jump as one animal. Woe be to the 
unfortunate cowboy who was in their path! 
If his horse should stumble and fall, he was al- 
most certain to be tramped to death. Almost 
any kind of unusual noise or incident would 
start a stampede. But one of the most un- 
usual is told by an old pioneer of Erath County 
which nearly demolished the frontier village of 
Stephenville, Texas. 

In the early eighties the town consisted of 
several log cabins with shed rooms of raw lum- 
ber. They also had porches made of the same 
materials covered with boards sawed from pin- 
oak. The central and largest structure served 
as a court room. One of the others, as a saloon 
where, for a quarter of a dollar, a purchaser 
could buy a fair-sized drink of whiskey drawn 
from a spigot in a fifty gallon barrel into a tin 



286 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

cup* There was usually a group of cowboys in 
town and there were more dogs than inhabi- 
tants* Dog fights furnished the chief sport 
and amusement. One of the County officers 
owned a large parrot which was usually perch- 
ed on the roof of the courthouse porch. Natural- 
ly the bird picked up a considerable amount of 
cowboy lingo, including profanity. One of the 
parrot's chief expressions was, "Ye-oh-sic-'em," 
which usually started a dog fight that he seem- 
ed to enjoy. One day a herd of about fifteen 
hundred Longhorn steers were being driven 
through town. The parrot flapped his wings, 
gave out a cowboy yell and screached "Ye-oh- 
sic-'em/' In a split second all of the dogs in 
town charged the steers, barking madly* The 
cattle stampeded and knocked down all of the 
porches along the streets. They even demolish- 
ed the interior of the shacks. The town looked 
like a cyclone had hit it. It took two days to 
get the herd back together again. Stephenville 
is now a thriving, modern little city. It is really 
remarkable how this country Has grown and 
developed in the past hundred years. 

In 1910 we lived in Tioga, Texas. I knew 
an old man named Steele living there that was 
past ninety years of age at that time. He said 
he had been in Dallas after he was grown when 
there was nothing there except a one-room log 
cabin, or grocery store on the bank of the Trini- 
ty River. And that you could have hauled all of 
the groceries away in a spring wagon, as the 
heaviest item in the store was a barrel of 
whiskey on the counter. Now Dallas has as 
many people as the State of New Mexico. This 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 287 

same old fellow said he remembered his father 
taking him to Chicago when he was a small boy, 
and there was nothing there but log buildings 
only one two-story building in town, and 
that was a log hotel where they stayed all 
night. They paid twenty-five cents for a bed 
that consisted of buffalo robes to sleep on and 
a bear skin to go over them* 

Father's mother's maiden name was Dover. 
She was born in northern Georgia in 1840. I 
have heard her tell many stories of the hardships 
that the women endured during the Civil War 
days in northern Arkansas when practically ev- 
ery able-bodied man was in the Southern army, 
How they were harassed by Jayhawkers or de- 
generate white men who cared for neither cause 
but stayed at home to pillage, murder and steal. 
I know an old man named Jonas who is living 
in Lubbock today and approaching his nine- 
tieth birthday. He said he and his cousin were 
just children when they held their grandfather's 
hand while one of these human vultures shot 
him down, for someone had told them he had 
some money. These same men later tortured 
his other grandfather, heating a skillet hot and 
making him stand in it with his bare feet until 
he was crippled as long as he lived. They also 
hanged his negro servant until he was uncon- 
scious. They placed him between two build- 
ings that had a ridge pole extending from one 
to the other, but still the old negro would not 
tell where his master's gold was hidden. The 
money was buried right between the two build- 
ings directly beneath where they hanged the 
negro. 



288 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

Some folks will tell you the negro was not 
loyal to the South. There were good negroes 
as well as the bad, just like the white man. The 
Civil War is over and I do not wish to renew it 
in any manner, but I do know that northern 
slave dealers brought the negroes over here and 
sold them to the South, for they were not adapt- 
ed to the northern climate and were more effici- 
ent in tobacco and cotton raising. When the 
question of freedom came up, the sons of the 
South fought for them just like you or I would 
fight for our cattle or any of our worldly pos- 
sessions if they were being taken away from us 
by an outside force. I might say here that when 
the remnant of the old Confederate soldiers re- 
turned and heard the stories of how these law- 
less bands of men had pillaged, robbed, and 
murdered their old men and caused the women 
to suffer untold hardships, they did not last 
long for they were hunted down like a pack of 
wolves and treated accordingly. 

Grandmother used to tell about driving a 
lone ox to a water-mill to have corn ground 
into meal. The ox would get thirsty and take 
off through the brush to where there was water. 
He would drink his fill and then he could be 
coaxed back into the trail to continue on the 
journey. They had to keep the ox hid out in 
the woods to keep the Jayhawkers from steal- 
ing or butchering him. The conveyance that 
they used in going to mill was an old wooden 
two- wheel ox-cart sawed from large logs. On 
one occasion she had a young mule which had 
never been ridden. It became necessary to go 
with the corn to mill and she got the sack of 




OUR SAVIOR 

This picture is a reproduction of the original -work of 
art, which was designed, and. hand-carved, on one 
solid piece of leather, three by seven feet, by H>r. 
"Wrn. Allen Maddoac. Some 180O hours were required 



stand at the door and knock. The scroll at the top 
of the carving reads CGen. 6-3), "And the Ix>rd said, 
my Spirit shall not always strive -with man.** The 
carving on the bottom scroll has the entire I^ord's 
IPrayer. Many noted men of God who have preached 
His Word for years have pronounced this carving a 
wonderful piece of art, and any little child that has 
ever attended Sunday School -will tell you who it is 
instantly. Cut, owing to the old Mosaic law of no 
graven images, one man's conception of how Christ 
looked is as good as another's . 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 289 

corn up on the mule and then she finally suc- 
ceeded in getting up behind the sack. She got 
along fairly well until they came to a bridge 
with a hole in it. If there is anything a mule is 
more afraid of than a hole in a bridge, I don't 
know what it is. Anyway, she could not even 
lead him across the bridge, after she had got- 
ten down and removed the sack of corn. She 
had tried unsuccessfully until she was practical- 
ly worn out. She said a lady who did not live 
far away saw the trouble she was having 
and came down to help her. She was a large 
raw-boned woman who walked over to a^ rail 
fence and proceeded to remove the top rail to 
use as a flail. She set in on that mule with the 
rail and cussed him for all he was worth* Grand- 
mother said that was the first time she had ever 
heard a woman swear, and it came near to scar- 
ing her to death. It must have scared the mule 
also, for he took one look at the hole and made 
a big jump and landed safely on the other side. 
She said that when she returned the mule shied 
at the hole in the bridge, but went right on 
across. I imagine he was afraid of that rail 
and the cussing which was still fresh on his 
mind. No task was too great for these pioneer 
women to undertake. 

Grandmother said that during^ the war a 
neighbor woman would .. stay with her one 
night and they would do all of their family 
chores and stay at her house the next night. 
On one occasion they were late in getting to 
one of their houses. It was after sundown 
when a large panther jumped into the path in 
front of them and took a good look at them 



290 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

and the children. They all commenced scream- 
ing and the panther bounded off into the bush- 
es, to their great relief. Grandmother said all 
of the weapons the women had during the war 
were old butcher knives which had been ham- 
mered out of files on an anvil, with wooden 
handles bradded onto the handle-part. 

Salt was a very scarce article. They would 
dig up all the dirt in the smoke-house where 
meat had been hung up to dry or take salt in 
previous years, and put this into a large hop- 
per, and boil and skim all the residue off and 
let the salt settle to the bottom to dry. It 
wasn't such fine salt, but was far better than 
nothing. 

In 1849 gold was discovered in California. 
Grandmother remembered when three of Dad's 
uncles left in a wagon train of old prairie 
schooners drawn by oxen, to find the pot of 
gold at the end of the rainbow. I have heard 
that some of the descendants of these Maddox 
families are living in and around Gold City, 
California, to this day. Grandmother Mad- 
dox's father was a doctor named Dover, and 
lived to be past ninety, years of age. I remem- 
ber corresponding with him when I was a 
small boy. He also went overland to Cali- 
fornia in the gold rush of '49 and suffered 
so many hardships that he decided to re- 
turn by ship which sailed around the Horn, 
to his ^old home near Little Rock, Arkansas. 
On this return trip he was shipwrecked off 
the coast of Brazil. Over two years were 
consumed on the return journey from Cali- 
fornia to Arkansas. The same trip can now 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 291 

be made by plane in a little over two day's 
time. 

North Arkansas was a game paradise at the 
close of the Civil War. I have heard Grand- 
mother Maddox say that many times she 
would have to leave her housework to drive 
wild turkey gobblers away that would come up 
near the house and whip her tame turkey gob- 
blers and induce the hens to return to the woods 
with them. She said that on many occasions 
she had counted over one hundred wild tur- 
keys going up a trail on the side of a mountain 
near her home. When Dad was a small boy, he 
used to catch or trap them in a rail pen which 
was built in a certain way. He laid a square 
pen of rails about waist high and dug a trench 
under one side of the pen; then put a board 
over the trench on the inside close to the rails. 
For a short time, he would leave the top of the 
pen off; then he would take shelled corn and 
make small droppings of the corn running 
from several directions to this trench that went 
under the pen. The wild turkeys would run 
across this string of corn, following it and eat- 
ing the corn as they went along. They would 
never notice that they were going into the pen. 
When they got inside, they would look up and 
become scared and fly off immediately. He 
would leave this top off for a week or more 
until he got a large bunch of turkeys used to 
feeding there. Then he would cover the pen 
over with rails and put out his trails of corn 
leading to the pit and the turkeys would fol- 
low this corn right into the pen, and look up 
and find a top over it. They would start run- 



292 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

ning round and round the edge of the pen with 
their heads up and never think of looking down. 
In this manner, you could soon catch the entire 
bunch that lived in this particular locality. He 
said on a number of occasions, he had crawled 
into the pen with a large wild turkey gobbler 
that would almost flail the life out of him be- 
fore he could catch him or knock him in the 
head with a stick* 

Mother's father, Grandpa Allen, was a great 
deer hunter, and his family were seldom ever 
out of deer or turkey meat. Both were so 
plentiful that the breast of the turkey and the 
choicest part of the deer were all that they usual- 
ly saved. Grandfather was considered one of 
the best shots in the country. I heard him tell 
that he went hunting when he was so small 
he had to carry a forked stick along to prop up 
the end of an old long barrel squirrel rifle in 
order to shoot it. His uncle used to send him 
around the corn field to kill and scare off the 
squirrels from roasting-ear time on until it was 
gathered in the falL If he ever shot a squirrel 
in any other place besides the head, his uncle 
would make fun of him. 

Old Confederate soldiers knew how to shoot 
a squirrel in the head with an old single-shot 
muzzle-loading cap and ball rifle. It is not 
hard to imagine how these men were so hard to 
conquer. They went into battle on a number 
of occasions hopelessly outnumbered, against a 
force that was far better equipped in all the 
paraphernalia used in war of that time, and 
they shot with such deadly accuracy that the 
enemy would often throw down their arms and 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 293 

run. On a number of occasions, I have asked 
Grandfather if he ever killed a man during the 
war* He told me that he always took aim as 
carefully as shooting at a squirrel, but the sec- 
ond he touched the trigger he immediately 
looked away and would start to reload his rifle. 
The nearest I could ever get him to say that he 
thought he had killed a soldier was on one 
Sunday morning when they were all in camp 
only a few miles from the enemy. Each side 
had out-guards or pickets, and the boys were 
shooting at one of the Union soldiers to see if 
if they could make him run. Grandfather was 
asleep, and some of them suggested that since 
he was considered the best shot in his regiment, 
someone should be sent to bring him and see if 
he could make the man run. Grandfather said 
that it was an extremely long shot and he aimed 
at a limb directly over the man's head, as the 
man was standing under a tree. When he fired 
the man fell, and some of his companions ran 
to him and carried him away on a stretcher. 
He said he was really ashamed of that act and 
had thought about it many times in life and 
hoped that he did not kill the fellow. 

The Civil War has passed on into history 
and so has the picture of that great abundance 
of game and wild life. Grandfather said that a 
single-shot muzzle-loading rifle was practical- 
ly the only gun used on game until he was past 
forty years of age. We modern hunters have 
the repeating rifle and automatic loaders that 
will fire as fast as you can pull the trigger. We 
burn up lots of ammunition and kill very little 
game as compared to our ancestors. Times 



294 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

have changed in many ways other than fire- 
arms. 

Grandpa Allen was a blacksmith and cabinet- 
maker. I have heard him say that on many 
occasions when someone in the community 
would die, he had made a coffin for nothing; 
and many times he did not even get pay for 
the material which went into the coffins* Now- 
adays, you have to carry at least a thousand 
dollar's worth of insurance to put you away in 
anything like modern style. I remember ask- 
ing him when he was past eighty-five if he had 
any particular way or place in which he want- 
ed to be buried, when the time came for him 
to pass on. He replied that he had seen men 
die and buried in almost every way imagin- 
able, and he quoted the passage of Scripture: 
"Dust thou art and to dust thou wilt return/' 
He was a Christian of the highest type. He 
lived his religion. I never heard him swear an 
oath in the many years that it was my pleasure 
to be in the companionship with this grand old 
man of the South. He was of Scotch-Irish an- 
cestry, and was as full of dry wit as any Irish- 
man from the land of Blarney. My first recol- 
lection of him was of a tall, erect man with a 
black beard, that came to his waist, which later 
turned to silver* He told me a few years be- 
fore he died that he had only shaved once in his 
entire life, and that was while he was in the 
Southern army. He was six feet, three inches 
tall in his stocking feet at the age of seventeen, 
when he joined the Confederate army. General 
Lee once said if you would give him an army of 
boys, he could whip the world. It is not hard 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 295 

to imagine what happened in battle with men 
of his type fighting for what they thought was 
right. 

That was the reason that Lee and Stonewall 
Jackson and the other Southern generals won 
so many battles when they were so badly out- 
numbered. At times it was pathetic. Did you 
know that Stonewall Jackson was the only gen- 
eral who ever lived, except one, who never was 
defeated in battle? It has been handed down 
through tradition that he never entered a battle 
without first offering a prayer to his Maker. 
Perhaps this accounts for the reason why these 
often poorly-equipped, under-nourished, and 
outnumbered soldiers won more battles than 
the Northern or Union soldiers, in the Civil 
War. I won't call them Yankees, but that is 
what they were to Grandfather. I have many 
friends who can trace their ancestry back to 
the Union soldier; and as a man grows older, 
there is less hatred in his heart toward all man- 
kind. He is not so reckless or venturesome, 
or so void of all fear as a young man is. So it 
is not hard to imagine the love, respect, and 
admiration that the soldiers in the Southern 
army had for these wise and kindly leaders. 
Robert E. Lee never had a soldier under his 
command who would not have gladly died for 
him or the cause for which they were fighting. 
I have just completed a bust carving in leather 
of General Robert E. Lee, in memory of these 
grand old men who fought for a lost cause, suf- 
fering untold hardships. Many of them re- 
turned home broken in spirt as well as in health 
and wealth and had to reconstruct a greater 



296 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

South* The hardships which they endured 
under the period of Reconstruction could not 
be told in volumes* 

Grandfather Allen often said that when Lin- 
coln was assassinated, the South lost the best 
friend they had. Politics ran rampant during 
the "carpetbagger" days. A "carpetbagger" 
was a cheap politician who came into the South 
with nothing but a carpetbag which held his 
worldly belongings, usually seeking some polit- 
ical office. He tried to take the right of the 
ballot away from the old Confederate soldiers. 
These men of the South endured this for a time 
like they had endured so many hardships, then 
came a gallant Southern general, Nathan Bed- 
ford Forrest, who organized what was called 
the Ku Klux Klan. It served its purpose of re- 
storing to the ex-soldiers their rightful places 
in their respective communities. 

Grandfather Allen ran a blacksmith shop 
when we moved to Oklahoma which was a 
pioneer country at that time. Such a thing as a 
graded road was unknown. Most of the roads 
followed the point of least resistance, and were 
just trails made by the two horses that pulled 
the wagon, where the wheels ran. All wagons 
in Oklahoma were what was called narrow- 
tread wagons. In Texas, where we came from, 
all wagons were wide-tread. In other words, 
the tracks the wheels of the Texas wagons made 
were several inches wider. This made all Texas 
wagons climb out of the ruts or make a new 
trail which was rough at all times; and in bad 
weather it was considerably worse and almost 
unusable. So Grandfather got the job of cut- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 297 

ting many of these wagons down and making 
narrow-tread wagons out of them. I have as- 
sisted him in this work many times, and have 
done many odd jobs such as pumping large 
old-fashioned air bellows to heat the iron in, 
and standing on a block and striking for him on 
the anviL It was in this manner that I learn- 
ed all the working parts of a wagon, such as 
rockinbolster, hounds, felloes spokes, iron tires, 
spindles, coupling poles, axles, hubs, brake 
blocks, wagon tongues, and breast yoke. Little 
did I dream at that time of ever carving an old 
prairie schooner on leather, with four plodding 
oxen winding across the prairie. 

But knowledge thus gained from actual ex- 
perience around his shop when a small boy 
taught me the anatomy of the wagon. My 
contention is that an artist should know the 
anatomy of anything, man or animal, which he 
attempts to paint, sculpture, or carve. 

The artist of the famous painting Nana was 
a Russian doctor. The painting is his 
daughter in the nude. I have seen some draw- 
ings of horses by artists who must have never 
been near a live horse, so little knowledge do 
they show regarding his muscles and propor- 
tions, the kind of horse he is, draft, saddle, or 
trotting. Anyone should know that a stal- 
lion's neck is much larger than a gelding's; but 
I knew the secretary of a very noted man in 
Texas who kept arguing this point with me 
regarding a stallion's neck. She was evidently a 
smart young lady in worldly affairs, but little 
did she know about horses. 

The American people have always had a rest- 



298 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

less, pioneer spirit somewhat like Father's ex- 
pression about an old cow. She willbe graz- 
ing along as contented as you please, and all at 
once she will raise her head and look the pasture 
over, and the grass will always look greener 
on the other side of the pasture* Daniel Boone, 
the Kentucky pioneer, used to say that when 
the closest neighbor got within ten miles of 
him, it was time to move on to a new country* 
What will the American people do when there 
is no new country left to pioneer? It looks like 
we have reached that stage now, unless the rest- 
less souls should crave a cold climate and mi- 
grate to Alaska. But man is not as fortunate 
as the wild goose which is one of our bird mi- 
grators, or the humming bird, which is the 
smallest of small birds. The humming bird 
can fly across the Gulf of Mexico at the widest 
part, which is over six hundred miles, without 
a stop. The buffalo migrated to the northern 
part of the Great Plains in the summer and 
drifted back to the southern part in the winter, 
and the Indians migrated along with him, for 
buffalo were their food and clothing* 

Mr. F. E. Abney, who is an old-time Texas 
cowman, now seventy-eight years old, when a 
young man lived in Denton County, Texas, on 
a large ranch south of the present town of 
Sanger. I was reared in Cooke County, which 
lies north of Denton at its south line and Red 
River as its north line. One prong of the old 
Chisholm Trail ran across the west end of their 
range. During the years from 1877 to 1891, 
there was seldom a time when there was not a 
herd of from five hundred to three thousand 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 299 

head of Longhorn cattle in sight going up the 
trail to Kansas, where they contacted the ends 
of the rails. At this time, there was not a rail- 
road in all the vast country of Texas which is 
larger than the German Empire. The Ameri- 
can people have since taken Horace Greeley's 
advice: "Go West, young man, go West and 
grow up with the country/' But some of the 
folks who were reared in the West and have 
rubbed the dust out of their eyes on a cow 
round-up and at many other occupations dur- 
ing a dry time, have changed this slogan and 
say: "Go West, young man, go West, and 
blow up with country/' And that is what 
many a poor fellow did. 

We moved from Cooke County, Texas, to 
Caddo County, Oklahoma, when Father drew 
a claim there in 1900. We lived there eight 
years; then the grass got greener to Father way 
out yonder, and he made a trip to the country 
just east of the Caprock, east of Amarillo, 
Texas, in Wheeler County. This was a great 
cow country but not so good for farming, un- 
less you ran a stock farm. A famous railroad 
engineer whom Father knew came to Texas in 
the early days to survey and build railroads. He 
made the statement that there should not be a 
foot of land ever broken in Texas, for there 
was enough grass here to raise cattle to feed the 
world. However, don't let this statement mis- 
lead you; Texas has plenty of fine soil, for it 
takes fine soil to grow good grass. This same 
man wired his company that he could not build 
railroads in Texas because there were no cuts to 
go through or tunnels to be bored or fills to be 



300 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

made. He was wrong in some respects and 
right in others* 

In some parts of the plains, you can see the 
reflection of the headlight on a locomotive for 
almost a night's run. You can drive your car 
on beautiful hard-surfaced roads and the tele- 
graph poles will go over the hill ahead of you; 
and looking back, they will go over the hill be- 
hind you. You can drive in a straight course 
for two hundred miles with the poles lost on 
the horizon, both in front and behind* 

When we arrived in Wheeler County, which 
was a new country, we made the mistake of 
trying to farm altogether* We started to farm- 
ing at the beginning of a three-year drouth and 
wound up, so far as we were concerned, about 
the time the drouth broke* At that time we 
lived in a little town for something like two 
years, located twelve miles west of Shamrock on 
the Rock Island Railroad* We watched the cov- 
ered wagons go by, for we were on a direct route 
to Tucumcari, New Mexico, where the govern- 
ment was betting 160 acres of land against the 
proving up or filing fees, that a farmer could 
not live on it three years* Generally speaking* 
the government won, for at the end of the three 
years' drouth, most of them came trekking 
back East to where it rained more often. But 
some of the hardy souls stayed; the weaker ones 
returning, which is usually the case* 

I remember for days, weeks and months, 
there was seldom a time when you could not 
see from one^ to many long trains of covered 
wagons rolling westward, ever westward* 
Most of them had good mules and horses and 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 301 

would be leading a few milk cows; or some boy 
would be driving a few head of cattle and young 
horses. Some of these same people went back 
East three years later driving two burros to a 
small spring wagon. These little animals are 
famous for their ability to live off of the 
country. Old mining prospectors or desert rats 
will tell you that a burro can make a living and 
stay fat wherever you can find enough level 
ground to camp on. Many times the father 
would be walking, and the haggard look on the 
mother's face would be pathetic to behold. The 
little spring wagon or conveyance would usual- 
ly be full of ragged, underfed children; that 
was the sad part of the picture. In going back 
East, many of the movers had to live off of the 
country through which they were passing. I 
heard a story once that will illustrate my point. 

A fellow came out to the plains from Parker 
or Jack County that also has its drouths. This 
man was standing on a street corner looking like 
he had lost the last friend he had on earth when 
an old West Texan spotted him and sauntered 
over and started a conversation. The man told 
him where he was from and stated he would 
like to go back. When asked why he didn't go, 
he replied he couldn't, as he had murdered a 
fellow back there. The West Texan replied, 
"That was bad/' The homesick fellow said 
that he didn't exactly murder the man, but he 
killed his rabbit dog and the man starved to 
death. 

The covered wagons in this westward trek 
were fixed up very modern for that day and 
time. Most of them had over-jets on the wagon 



302 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

beds, proper. When we moved from Okla- 
homa to West Texas, along about 1906 or 
1907, we had one of these over- jets and we 
boys were very proud of it. You loaded your 
household goods into the wagon-bed, up level 
with it; then the side-boards were placed upon 
the wagon. This, roughly speaking, was 
around two and one-half or three feet deep, 
according to the make of the wagon. Then 
you had a carpenter to build a frame or exten- 
sion that would fit into the cleats that the 
wagon bows were made for. Over this you 
stretched your wagon sheets. These bows were 
usually made of hickory, and you placed them 
into the cleats that had been made for same in 
the over-jet, which was made the same size as 
a standard bed. You could place the bed springs 
and slats upon this and then your mattress, and 
you had as fine a bed as you had at home. A 
good, heavy, duck wagon-sheet will turn al- 
most any kind of rain and keep out a great deal 
of cold. It is rather airish when you get up in 
the morning to build your camp fire with noth- 
ing to use for fuel except dried cow chips. 

In those days, it took weeks to travel a dis- 
tance that can easily be traveled in a modern 
car in a half day's time now. You had to pick 
your watering places to camp, for your stock 
must have water. If the mover was leading 
some milk cows or driving some mixed stock 
with him, about fifteen miles was a fairly good 
day's travel, for you cannot crowd a loaded 
team, and almost all people had a certain 
amount of admiration or respect for their 
horses. On a number of occasions, I have seen 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 303 

my father drive himself far harder than he 
would think of driving his team* And if you 
treated your horses kindly, they would do for 
you until they dropped in the harness from ex- 
haustion. A boy who has to be reared with- 
out the companionship of a good horse or dog 
is missing something that he can never get out 
of life in books or colleges, for there is a loyalty 
among dumb animals that is almost past be- 
lieving in this modern age among human beings. 

Recently, the writer drove a car only half 
the distance between Lubbock and San Antonio, 
Texas. We made the trip in around six hours 
of actual driving, averaging seventy miles the 
entire distance which is around 450 miles. 
When we got home I was a nervous wreck and 
so was the person who drove the other half. 
We are traveling an awful fast pace and speed 
is increasing all the time. During the World 
War few airplanes would fly faster than an 
automobile will run on our modern highways 
that have been built from taxation on the ve- 
hicles that used them. These highways are tak- 
ing a toll in human life in just as brutal a man- 
ner as the Indians did who scalped their vic- 
tims, or the lawless element who murdered and 
robbed. 

Every generation thinks the world is getting 
better. Well do I remember the first tele- 
phones that were installed in the country where 
we lived in Oklahoma. There were plenty of 
bad men there in those days. Everyone said 
it would not be long before we would have no 
more outlaws, for it would be impossible for 
men to commit a crime and get away. The of- 



304 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

ficers could phone all over the country ahead 
of the outlaw and have him picked up pronto. 
It seems that we had a gangster rule or crime 
wave during the prohibition days that would 
match anything in the way of crime in the early 
days of the Indian Territory* In fact, some of 
these modern tactics in committing crime would 
put the old-time outlaw to shame. They never 
shot down innocent bystanders for the fun of 
it, or took someone for a ride, or kidnapped 
folks' loved ones for ransom. 

There were plenty of tough looking horn- 
bres that came to our frontier store in Okla- 
homa. We always feared the white man more 
than the Indian. I never remember us locking 
our home; petty stealing was seldom heard of. 
Cattle and horses were stolen, especially a fat 
yearling that had strayed too far from home. 
Horse stealing was as common as the stealing 
of automobiles today, for they were the trans- 
portation of that age. Our entire bunch of 
work and saddle horses were stolen at one time. 
Father's brother, who was not familiar with the 
country, looked for them for over a week. 
One day a man was talking with my uncle Sid 
Allen, on my mother's side, who had hunted 
down in the part of the country, not far from 
the Washita River, where a family lived 
that had been there for years. They did not 
have too good a reputation. Some of the young- 
er boys had been sent to the penitentiary for 
stealing horses and cattle. The oldest one of 
these boys, whom Uncle Sid had befriended, 
never came in contact with the law. He, no 
doubt, knew plenty of people that lived outside 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 305 

of the law. Uncle Sid, while talking with him, 
stated that Dad had lost all of his horses which 
was going to make it awful hard on him to get 
by and make a crop unless he could recover 
them. He never said they were stolen, as the 
country was mostly open range and they could 
stray away from home. To make a long story 
short, when we had given up all hopes of ever 
recovering the horses, we found them not far 
from home grazing in a locality that we had 
searched over many times. The horses were 
very gaunt, showing that they had been driven 
a long distance without time to graze. 

Uncle Claude Fears, who married Father's 
sister, used to tell of Sam Bass, the famous 
Texas outlaw and noted train robber who was 
killed by the Texas Rangers at Round Rock, 
Texas, while attempting to rob a bank. One 
of his own men turned traitor and notified the 
Rangers in order to get the reward for Sam's 
life. This man's name was Jim Murphy, whom 
Mr. F. E. Abney stated was reported to have 
borrowed a large sum of money from Bass who 
had recently robbed a train in the North. Bass 
used to stay at the Murphy Ranch which was 
located about twelve miles northwest of Den- 
ton, down on Hickory Creek. Murphy had 
been with Bass on many raids and was not 
liked by the most of Bass's men. They grew 
suspicious of Murphy on one occasion and 
wanted to hang him. Sam Bass persuaded them 
not to do it, and was later killed from this 
man's treachery* 

The Rangers at one time surprised Bass's 
gang on the headwaters of Denton Creek and 



306 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

killed Arkansas Johnson, not over ten miles 
southwest from where my parents now live. 
Sam started his career of crime at Denton, 
Texas, by killing a man over a horse race. Songs 
have been written about his Denton mare that 
caused the trouble. This man would stop over at 
the home of Uncle Claude's father who was a 
doctor and an old Confederate soldier. Mr. 
Fears told me, when I was a small boy, about 
Sam stopping late one night and leaving before 
daylight. A few days previous to this time a 
gray horse whom he was very fond of had been 
stolen. Mr. Fears told him about the horse and 
Bass replied, "I think I know who has the 
horse. You will perhaps get him back before 
long/' Mr. Fears said about a week later they 
went to the lot one morning to feed the horses 
and old gray nickered to him. He was inside 
of the horse lot with the gate shut, gaunt and 
hungry. 

I have hunted quail on what is known 
as Cold Hollow south of Rosston, Texas, not 
far from where my parents now live. This 
cove or hollow was supposed to be where Sam 
went and lay out to rest himself, as well as the 
horses. Of course, people say that there is 
much gold and silver buried there, from his 
many train robberies. However, I have never 
heard of anyone finding any of this buried 
money. 

Old Grandpa Kelly was another settler who 
had a ranch between Flat Creek and Grasshop- 
per, on the county line between Cooke and 
Denton counties. One of the oldest landmarks 
known in North Texas is a large lone elm tree 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 307 

standing on a high ridge between these two 
creeks. It can be seen for miles in every direc- 
tion; it was still living a few years ago. In the 
early days, this tree was used as a landmark 
to direct travelers through the country* H. tL 
Halsell, who is the author of Cowboys and Cat- 
tleland and Romance of the West, was reared 
near Decatur, Texas, and knew this landmark 
as a boy. 

Mr. Kelly, whom I remember as a lad, told 
a story of the time when he was riding a fine 
stallion across his range. He had imported this 
stallion from Kentucky. He was extremely 
fond of the horse, for horses in those days were 
worth very much. On this particular morning, 
he was riding across the range when he noticed 
a man riding toward him waving his hand for 
him to stop. As the stranger approached, he 
could tell his horse was practically ridden down. 
The stranger greeted him and, after a few 
minutes conversation, bantered him to trade 
horses. Mr. Kelly replied that he did not care 
to trade his horse, so the stranger said: "My 
name is Sam Bass. I have an awful good horse, 
but he is ridden down. I need a new mount 
and will trade with you and give you a twenty 
dollar gold piece to boot. If you will rest my 
horse up, I'll drop by before long and exchange 
back with you/' Mr. Kelly said he could see it 
would be foolhardy to argue with the man for 
he had heard of his reputation. So he agreed, 
and took the outlaw's horse back to the ranch 
house and turned him in the horse lot and fed 
and cared for him. Before many days had 
passed, Sam came back by with his horse rid- 



308 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

den down and asked him how the horse was 
that he had left with him. Mr* Kelly replied 
that he seemed to be all right. So Sam took his 
original horse and gave Mr. Kelly another 
twenty dollar piece and asked him if he thought 
that was fair. To this Mr. Kelly readily agreed, 
as his horse was not hurt other than being rid- 
den down. These instances were told to me 
as a boy by men whose honesty and integrity 
were beyond reproach in the community in 
which they resided. Thus is illustrated the dif- 
ference between the old-time outlaw and our 
modern hijackers and kidnappers of today. 

I am not trying to paint a flowery picture 
of the old-time outlaw, but facts are truer than 
fiction and facts are harder to relate than fic- 
tion, for anyone with an imaginative mind 
can put down on paper almost anything that 
sounds good to the reading public. My ex- 
perience with men in life is that you will find 
all classes in every environment. Some of the 
old-time outlaws, when young men in an un- 
guarded moment, had committed a crime and 
were too proud to ever give up to the law; but 
preferred to migrate to some new country where 
they were unknown. And for their own pro- 
tection, they had to associate with men of their 
kind. Uncle Charlie Jones used to say that the 
officers did not kill so many of these men. They 
killed themselves, over bad women and quar- 
reling over the division of their spoils. Hog- 
gishness and greed, and "man's inhumanity to 
man makes countless thousands mourn/' Some 
of the mixed-blood Indians drifted into out- 
lawry. 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 309 

The story of Henry Star, Indian, will fit in 
well here. I never saw him perform this feat 
but have heard many times that he was a won- 
derful shot. A man whose honesty I have no 
reason to doubt said he had seen him mount a 
good horse and ride at full speed straight into a 
three-strand barbed-wire fence and jerk a forty- 
five Colt six-shooter out of his pocket when 
he was within fifteen or twenty paces of the 
fence* And shooting close to a post, he would 
cut each wire into two parts which would 
bound back so that the horse and rider could 
pass through the fence without checking his 
speed. This man said that Star would bet any 
amount of money that he could do this. And 
no one had ever seen him fail He wandered 
over into Arkansas and robbed a small town 
bank and herded all of the employees into the 
vault. The banker who was getting along in 
years, grabbed up an old shotgun and wound- 
ed him so badly that he later died. Some of the 
men who knew Star asked him why he didn't 
kill the old man, and he made the statement 
that he never shot at a man to hit him, in his 
life. It stands to reason he could have easily 
killed the old banker, if he had cared to do so. 
I am not writing down my thoughts for the 
purpose of upholding the old-time outlaw, but 
am only trying to show the change from the 
old order to the new, in men as well as other 
things. 

When Mother was a girl, she said she remem- 
bered talking back to her father only one 
time. Her father raised a family of five girls 
and one boy. Grandmother Allen died before 



310 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

the oldest girl was grown. ' 'Sassing' ' or talk- 
ing back to your parents was unknown* In 
many of our modern homes of today, the 
youngster is the boss. He tells the parents what 
he is going to do, and to have peace in the 
family, they usually give in to the youngster. 
The colt goes unbridled without a restraining 
hand to guide his footsteps. The modern way 
is not restrain his spirit, but let him have his 
way. Of course, this is not always the case in 
rearing children. When I was a youngster I 
never thought of calling an older person's name 
without putting Mr. or Mrs. before it. I was 
taught to respect all old age including my 
parents, and they respected me. Father was 
not a person to whip or scold his children. His 
theory was: bring a child up and teach him 
right from wrong, and if there is anything to 
him, it will come out as he grows older. When 
I was a youngster, as a rule, the boys were more 
venturesome or wilder than the girls. Most 
girls went to school and got an education far 
more readily than boys. The boy's mind ma- 
tures more slowly than the girl's and in those 
days there were so many more new countries to 
conquer than now. The boys would wander 
away from home and school. 

I remember attending a baccalaureate sermon 
in 1910 at Tioga, Texas. There were nineteen 
girls graduating from High School and only 
one boy. Wall, that preacher or speaker said 
things that started me thinking things over, 
seriously. Most of the boys I associated with 
were smoking and drinking in those days. A 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 311 

girl never thought of such thing. This speak- 
er asked the boys a question: "Do you want to 
be the little end of a cigarette?" His statement 
made such a profound impression on my mind 
that I have never used tobacco to this day, 

I am not going to say that the condition has 
reversed itself, for I have a daughter coming 
on; but I will let you be the judge. As far as 
the masses of humanity are concerned, I don't 
believe that we are as quarrelsome in this day 
and age as they were thirty-five or forty years 
ago. I can remember going to picnics on July 
4, and we would always wonder who was go- 
ing to have a fight that day. Usually someone 
did. Most of them were fist fights; but some 
were far worse than that. In those days, it was 
always the men who fought. I talked with a 
man only last year who has run a concession 
every fourth of July in a town in the moun- 
tains of New Mexico, for over thirty-five years. 
He stated that when he first went to this moun- 
tain village, there were always some serious 
fights among the men. Year before last, on the 
fourth of July picnic there were two fights 
among the women who had drunk too much; 
none among the men. 

History tells us that when the women lower 
themselves the morals of the nation are low- 
ered and that country is due for a downfall. I 
am not condemning the women of this day and 
age, but am only trying to relate conditions. I 
am like the Irishman who said, "Faith, and my 
mother was a woman/* There are plenty of 
good women in the world. I can repeat here 
with all sincerity what Lincoln once said. "All 



312 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

that I am and all that I ever hope to be goes 
to my Mother first and Father second/' 

Three other women besides my mother have 
wielded a great deal of influence in my life as 
a youngster. One was Father's mother, the 
other his sister, Aunt Mary, The last one was 
one of my teachers, Mrs. C. C. Franks, who 
now resides in Waco, Texas. 

We are traveling at a very fast pace, some- 
what like driftwood caught in the waters of a 
swift stream. It seems to be hard for us to get 
to the bank or backwater where we can rest for 
a spell. 

People of this day and time do not stop 
to enjoy themselves and their friends like the 
old settlers or pioneers used to do. Everything 
is commercialized now, even to the air we 
breathe (air conditioning). We are harassed 
with interest on our investments, and taxes of 
every conceivable nature. We have more 
things with which to enjoy living than the old 
pioneers did, but I think it can be truthfully 
said there is more unrest in the world today 
than in all of the history of this so-called mod- 
ern civilization. The Aztec Indians of old 
Mexico reached a high state of culture and 
civilization for that time and age, and then they 
perished from the earth. If we continue at the 
rate we are going, what will happen to us? 
I sometimes wonder. 

I was told, first hand, the horrors of our own 
Civil War and experienced the horrors of the 
last World War. Now, once more we have 
wars and rumors of wars in almost every coun- 
try or nation; and all nations are taxing them- 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 313 

selves to a point almost past endurance on the 
part of the people, in order to create more im- 
plements of destruction. The peace loving na- 
tions are forced to create implements of defense 
in preparation for the next war which will be 
directed against women and children as much 
as against the soldier on the fields of battle, I 
made the statement at the close of the World 
War that the next world war would destroy 
modern civilization, and I see nothing to cause 
me to change that statement, for the aggressor 
nations who are fighting today have been using 
prisoners of war for bayonet practice. 

I could go on and on describing the horrors 
that war is creating today. Our implements 
of destruction in the air, on the land, and in the 
sea are marvelous to behold. Our modern con- 
veniences for the peoples of the earth to really 
enjoy life, created in the mechanical world by 
master minds of this age, are marvelous also. 
The ultimate triumph of human ingenuity is 
beyond comparison; no doubt but what our 
modern radios will soon be equipped with tele- 
vision, and some day we will be able to push a 
button and hear the announcer say, "Ladies and 
gentlemen, with the perfection of radio-syn- 
chronized - three - or four - dimensional - color - 
television, we are now able to bring to youjhe 
complete picture of the end of Civilization" 
all of which brings to my mind the only hope 
I can see for us as a nation or an individual. It 
is the promises that are written in the Bible by 
our Lord and Savior who said "Times and con- 
ditions change. Heaven and earth shall pass 



314 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

away, but my word shall be with you always 
even to the ends of the earth/' 

Not, "How did he die?" 
But, "How did he live?" 
Not, "What did he gain?" 
But, 'What did he give?" 

These are the units 
To measure the worth 
Of a man as a man, 
Regardless of birth. 

Not, "What was his station?" 
But, "Had he a heart?" 
And, "How did he play 
His God-given part?" 

Was he ever ready 
With words of good cheer 
To bring back a smile? 
To banish a tear? 

Not, 'What did the sketch 
In the newspapers say?" 
But, "How many were sorry 
When he passed away?" 

Author Unknown 



THE STAGECOACH 

There was no rubber tires or roads of cement 
For people to ride on wherever they went. 
The roads in them days, if you recollect back, 
Was some mud or some dust and a couple wheel tracks. 

The bridges were few, and they forded the cricks, 
You might think they was shore in a terrible fix; 
But lots of folks liked to be livin' out there. 
They was wild as the country and didn't much care. 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 315 

Each little town watched for the stage to come through, 
With the mail and express and some passengers too. 
Up the rough rugged hills they would labor and dimb, 
But going down hill, that was where they made time. 

When they started they never knowed what they might 

face, 

On a journey like that, anything could take place. 
But you'd find mighty quick if it ever got rough, 
The guard and the driver was both plenty tough. 

Bruce Kiskaddon. 
Used by permission of the Los Angeles Union Stock Yards. 



THE OVERLAND STAGE 



Up to the time railroads began their develop- 
ment in America, the stagecoach was one of 
the most popular means of going from one part 
of the country to another. Even after the first 
development of the railroads, stagecoach lines 
acted as feeders to the railroad in out-of-the- 
way places, for years. Up to the close of the 
last century, means of transportation was usual- 
ly by hack, buggy, wagon, prairie schooner, or 
stagecoach. If you wanted to go somewhere 
in a hurry, you went by stage, for they usually 
had good horses and changed them at regular 
intervals which enabled the passengers to make 
more time* The coach was one of the first means 
of four-wheel transportation in both the new 
and old world. For want of roads in former 
times, four-wheel carriages were comparatively 
rare* It is believed that beyond the rudest sort 
of peasant carts, there were not a dozen car- 
riages or coaches in all Europe when America 
was discovered. The bodies of the early car- 
riages or coaches were hung or swung on leather 
straps by way of springs. 

The carriage spring has passed through many 
stages of evolution. The first attempt to re- 
lieve the jar of riding over rough roads was the 
suspension of the box or body of the coach by 

316 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 317 

leather straps from stiff iron arms or jacks ris- 
ing in front and behind from the axles. Then 
it occurred to some smith to give the upper end 
of the jacks, or arms, a little spring. The next 
step was to coil the upper end of the jacks into 
springs having the shape of the letter "C." The 
elliptical steel springs have been in use for a 
century or more* 

The names of various kinds of carriages are 
really amusing as well as bewildering. Some 
of our automobile manufacturers have copied 
or appropriated some of these names in modern 
cars: gig, sulky, and go-cart; chaise, calash, 
cariole, coupe, hansom, and jaunting-car; 
coach, brougham, barouche, rock-away, lan- 
dau, and victoria; buggy, phaeton and surrey; 
cab, hackney, fiacre, and drosky; drag, carryall, 
and tally-ho; wagonette, barge, stage, and om- 
nibus; dray, express- wagon, and van; cart, 
truck, and farm- wagon. There is no end to the 
classes, styles, and variations of the vehicle* 
Two- wheeled carts or chariots were known to 
the Assyrians and Egyptians. The Bible tells 
us that David brought home the Ark of the 
Covenant in a new cart, and the anger of the 
Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and he smote 
him for putting his unhallowed hand on the 
Ark, when the oxen drawing the cart stumbled 
over rough ground. The chariot is a historic 
vehicle with a low axle and two wheels, a pole 
for a tongue, and a bed or box open behind. 
The driver stands in the box and guides his 
steeds. The ancient Assyrians and Egyptians 
understood the making of elaborate chariots 
with spoked wheels as depicted on the monu- 



318 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

ments. Achilles tied the body of Hector to his 
chariot and dragged it about the walls of Troy* 
The Egyptians pursued the children of Israel 
with chariots drawn by horses, and were 
drowned in the Red Sea. Strong blades or 
knives were often affixed to the wheels of war 
chariots, which caused much havoc in the ranks 
of the enemy* Chariot races were a favorite 
amusement among the ancients. History gives 
us a spirited account of the historical chariot 
race of Ben Hur, which has been reproduced in 
moving pictures. 

The stagecoach of the Old West is used as 
a basis for many a western picture. In fact, it 
has almost become immortalized in western fic- 
tion of the screen. The stagecoach was used 
to carry mail across the country along with the 
Pony Express which carried mail by a relay 
system of horses. At the end of a certain num- 
ber of miles the rider would change to a fresh 
horse and dash away, at full speed. Much 
ground could be covered by relaying with a 
fresh horse. Most of our western stagecoaches 
were drawn by four horses. However, at times 
six were used. Gold and silver bullion was 
shipped to the smelters from mines of the West, 
and in return payrolls were shipped back to the 
mines by stage. The lawless element had some 
way, possibly through the grapevine system, 
of knowing or finding out how and when these 
shipments were to take place; and the outlaws 
or robbers would usually hide in some place 
where the road was extremely bad and the stage 
would have to slow up. The robbers would 
sometimes only call for the strong box or the 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 319 

money bag, not molesting the passengers; but 
on some occasions they would rob the passengers 
of all their money and valuables. 

Uncle Sam Moore of Seguin, Texas, whose 
father rode a mule from Virginia to Texas to 
join the Texas army under Sam Houston, when 
a boy watched the Pack-Saddle Mountain In- 
dian fight in Llano County in 1872* He has 
driven many herds up the trail, killed thou- 
sands of buffalo, brushed elbows with outlaws 
and gentlemen, and fought with the Indians* 
He is one of the few living men of today who 
has been in a stagecoach hold-up. It happen- 
ed at what was known as the peg-leg crossing 
on the San Saba River. The coach was going 
west from Austin, Texas, in 1879. The lone 
robber took all the passengers' money except 
that of one lady and Mr. Moore, who was the 
lone cowboy. The robber told him to keep his 
belongings, for no cowboy had a damn thing 
anyway. Mr. Moore is past eighty, hale and 
hearty, awaiting the last sunset, with a fine, 
eventful life. In his mind are stored memories 
of pioneer life in the great state of Texas. 

There was constant danger on every hand 
when the stage was going through hostile In- 
dian country. The Indians did not rob so much, 
but would kill all the passengers including the 
driver, and often steal the horses. Many of the 
stage lines had paid scouts who were fine shots 
who rode the stage in addition to the driver, for 
the hold-ups by highway robbers were more to 
be feared than anything else. Of course, they 
would not kill the passengers, provided they 
turned all their money and valuables over to 



320 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

them without making any false moves or com- 
plaining too much. But the driver and paid 
guard would get drilled if the robbers got the 
drop on them and they made any resistance 
whatsoever. 

Many old forts are now in ruins, such as: 
old Fprt Davis in the southwestern part of 
Texas, in Jeff Davis County, Old Fort Me- 
Kavett in Menard County, old Fort Griffin in 
Shackelford County, old Fort Worth in Tar- 
rant County, old Fort Elliott in Wheeler 
County, old Fort Sumner on the Pecos River 
in New Mexico, old Fort Cobb in Caddo Coun- 
ty, Oklahoma, Old Fort Sill in Comanche 
County, Oklahoma. All these old forts were 
established to protect trade or travel routes of 
the old prairie schooners and stagecoaches 
Practically all of these old forts are now in de- 
cay, having served their usefulness, with the 
exception of old Fort Sill in Oklahoma which 
is a permanent fort and military reservation. 
If the Indians got too bad, or there was too 
much robbery in a certain locality, the soldiers 
would be sent out to round up the Indians or 
chase down the outlaws. Most of these old 
forts were abandoned in the early '90's. 

W. W. Pollard told me an interesting story 
of a stagecoach robbery which occurred in the 
year of 1881 in the mountains west of Ros- 
well, New Mexico. Pollard was working on the 
old Diamond A Ranch in Southwestern New 
Mexico and a fellow was working there named 
Johnson, who was a rather tough hombre 
(Spanish word meaning man) ; but he wasn't 
a highway robber. This man was later killed 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 321 

in a saloon in Brisbec, Arizona. Johnson stat- 
ed that he and another passenger whom he 
knew well were the only passengers going across 
the mountains. The stage had only one driver 
and no guard. He said that the passengers did 
not know there was a money sack on the stage 
which was the payroll for a mine. When they 
were deep into the mountains, and had to slow 
down to make a sharp turn in the road, a lone, 
masked man stepped from behind a cedar bush 
with a Winchester and ordered the stage driver 
to halt. When the stage had stopped he said, 
"Boys, just pitch me that sack of money "under 
the seat, and you can be on your way/* In the 
fall of 1900 or just about nineteen years after 
the robbery, Johnson was in a saloon in Ros- 
well, New Mexico, and a bunch of men were 
talking and discussing the adventures they had 
been through, and swapping yarns as men will 
do. A real tough looking hombre told about 
being a passenger on a stagecoach in 1881 and 
going through the mountains west of Roswell 
when one lone highwayman held up the stage 
and asked for a sack of money that was under 
the driver's seat He went on to describe the 
robbery in detail. Johnson knew the other pas- 
senger was not this man, and he knew this man 
telling the story knew too much about the rob- 
bery not to have been the actual robber himself, 
so he slipped out of the saloon and went to the 
sheriffs office and told the sheriff he wanted 
two of the best deputies he had to make an ar- 
rest, for this fellow was armed and plenty tough 
looking. Johnson told the sheriff that he would 
go with them and point the man out. The 



322 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

officers went back with Johnson to the saloon, 
and since Johnson had described the man so 
that they would know him, they stuck a gun 
in his rib and said, "Pardner, come and go 
with us/' They took him to jail and kept 
quizzing him about the robbery which had oc- 
curred in 1881 and he finally admitted he was 
the lone bandit who had held up and robbed the 
stage nineteen years before. He said that was 
the first time he had ever told anyone about the 
robbery, and he would not have told it then if 
he had not been drinking too much. 

Most of those old stagecoach routes are now 
paved trans-continental highways that a mod- 
ern car can travel sixty or more miles per hour 
over. These cars pass many a spot where a 
tragedy, some fifty or more years ago, had been 
enacted. The Indians and old scouts like Kit 
Carson knew the gaps or passes in the moun- 
tains and the first overland stage routes follow- 
ed these gaps or mountain passes in the land of 
yesterday. Many old timers will tell you that 
the buffalo in his migration followed the lines 
of least resistance going through mountain pass- 
es, crossing streams and rivers at the point of 
least resistance. Many of our modern high- 
ways follow the general course that the buf- 
falo took when traveling across the country. 
Buffalo evidently knew these routes by instinct. 
These same routes were later followed by the 
railroads. 

In three generations of time, think where 
America has advanced in transportation. Even 
when I was a small boy, the Western Plains 
Indian used the travios, or poles tied to the sides 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 323 

of an Indian pony and a crude platform usually 
of skins erected behind the horse to carry the 
Indians' meager belongings or for the squaw 
and papoose to ride on. In days before the 
Civil War lots of freighting was done by pack- 
mules, with pack-saddles on their backs, the 
load being held on by ropes with the famous 
diamond hitch holding them down* In the 
days of the Pony Express, it was considered one 
of the fastest conveyances to carry the mail for 
that day and age. Next came the old prairie 
schooner, with enormous wheels pulled by the 
plodding oxen bringing those hardy, venturous 
souls called "Our Pioneers/' To many of us 
of the great Southwest, the pioneers behind the 
old plodding oxen or mule teams were Mother 
and Dad who helped to blaze the way, with a 
tow-headed boy riding in the spring seat along 
by the side of Mother. Now the little tow- 
headed boys who trekked westward with their 
parents as lads, are your business men of today. 
Their temples are now streaked with grey or 
maybe they have started to meet; or maybe their 
chests have started to slipping slightly, making 
it rather difficult to tie their shoes. 

Just before the great southwestern develop- 
ment of the railroads, the stagecoach was at 
its height of fame and glory acting as a trans- 
port for those hardy, venturous souls, to the 
West, also, in returning the weaklings back 
to the land from whence they came where the 
hardships to endure were not so many. The 
stagecoach helped restless humanity to keep 
ever on the move or to migrate as the wild geese 



324 HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 

or the buffalo, carrying mail to and from loved 
ones. : i 

Our rivers and navigable streams have also 
played their part in early day transportation, 
I talked with my daughter's great-great-grand- 
mother Greenwell in 191 7 who was then an old 
lady. She came down the Ohio River from 
eastern Kentucky on a flat boat to St. Louis, 
a bride when only seventeen years of age. Then 
she went up the Missouri River to Lexington 
in a steamboat. She said her mother and sisters 
were almost hysterical when she left to go into 
that awful wilderness of Missouri. She prom- 
ised them she would return for a visit at least 
once each year, and to show you how life will 
play tricks on us and change our interests, it 
was over fifty years before she got to return to 
her old home. With the coming of the rail- 
roads, travel was speeded up but there were still 
many out-of-the-way places where it was many 
miles to the railroad Take our own Staked 
Plains around Lubbock, going either north or 
south it was for years over a hundred miles to 
the closest railroad. These old routes are now 
paved highways with modern automobiles 
traveling as fast over them as airplanes could 
travel during the World War; and in the sky, 
we have passenger and mail planes that can fly 
across the United States, flying westward with 
the sun. In conclusion, I will repeat a poem by 
Gene Lindberg: 



HISTORICAL CARVINGS IN LEATHER 325 

When men ride West in ships that fly, 
They follow the ancient trails, 
There are no landmarks in the sky; 
The friendly earth still must supply 
Her rivers, roads and rails. 

When men ride West by speeding train 
They travel well-worn ways. 
Swift iron wheels retrace again 
The course traversed across the plain 
By wheels of by-gone days. 

Fleet motors climb the western grade 
The stagecoach used to take. 
The ox-carts in their slow parade 
Sought out the tracks the trapper made 
And followed in their wake. 

We who ride West and spurn the ground 
With wheels that rise and soar, 
Still need the trails our fathers found 
When jolting wheels turned slowly round 
Where feet had trudged before. 

Reprinted from Denver Post by Permission